Keefer Talks About "The Musquin Question"

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1/11/2016 11:50 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/11/2016 11:51 AM

"As I sat there listening to all of these very “typical” questions being handed out by the media to the riders at last week’s Anaheim One Supercross press conference, all I could think of was, “Isn’t anyone going to ask how Marvin Musquin and his brother are doing?” But even as I wondered this, the press conference talk revolved around the standard statements of, ‘my bike is working great, I’ve been training hard, you’ve got to take the season one race at a time’, etc. There was no real substance, just the usual fluff.

For those who don’t know, Marvin’s brother Mickael suffered a serious spinal cord injury back in August of 2015 while racing in Europe. What a lot of people don’t know is that I have witnessed disability on a very personal level; growing up as a child and for most of my adult life, my mother was disabled. Because of this, I have a lot of empathy for the Musquins’ situation. Although I never raced at the level Marvin is, I had a decent professional Supercross career, and all the while my mom sat home in a wheelchair. To say that it affected me while I was traveling across the world racing at times would be an understatement.

As the microphone got passed from each media member, I felt a sense of compassion and curiosity on how Marvin’s state was, how Mickael’s injury is progressing, and how he was doing back in France. So, I grabbed the microphone and asked the question. “Coming into your rookie season in the 450 class, how are you doing mentally with your brother’s injury and how is Mickael doing”? I immediately heard the lady sitting in front of me gasp. As I sat there listening to Marvin’s first 15-20 seconds of his answer, I could tell that the heaviness of this topic was very near the surface for the young Frenchman. The emotion of talking about his brother’s injury was just too much for him, and eventually the MC of the event, Jamie Little, moved the press conference on.
At this moment, the thoughts raced through my head. “What did I just do? I am a test rider and a journalist, but maybe my journalist card just ran out?” As I sat there watching Marvin break down in tears, I immediately felt horrible for even thinking such a question, let alone asking it to him in front of his racing peers. Was this a question that was appropriate for a press conference? Most of my colleagues would say no. Was it a fair question? Yes. Was it a malicious question? Not at all. A couple minutes passed and my phone began to blow up with social media notifications about “Keefer has no heart”, “Keefer is disrespectful”, and a lot of other things I can’t post up on here. The fire had officially started.

As the press conference ended I immediately made my way over to Marvin and his wife, Mathilde, to apologize. As expected, they were not happy (and I don’t blame them), Mathilde did most of the talking and was shocked I would even ask that kind of question in a press conference. They felt that was a better question for a one-on-one interview. All I could say is “you’re right” and “I am very sorry”. I think I said those two phrases eight or nine times during our quick verbal exchange.

So all of you may be wondering: What the hell was I thinking? Well, I already knew Marvin did an interview with “Le Big” for Racer X and the French website LeBigUSA about the situation, and as I read his interview, I began to think how tough Marvin is as a human being and a competitor. I couldn’t imagine doing what Marvin is doing and being able to ride at that level, having an injury like that hit so close to home. It was a real question that most of us as fans would want to know. I am more interested in Marvin Musquin as a person, under the helmet, than the racer Marvin Musquin. So, while I wasn’t expecting the reaction that we all got on Thursday January 7th, and maybe I could have asked this question at a later time, I am glad that all of us got to see first hand how tough Marvin really is. Remember, just because a rider shows emotion off the track doesn’t mean he is not a tough SOB on the track. It means he is human just like you and me, but he has an almost superhuman ability to turn the switch on and off better than you and I can.

Sometimes we get lost in that these Supercross riders are warriors and we avoid any type of question that is “real life”, or the riders tap dance around a “real answer”. These guys have emotions and problems just like the rest of us and they continue to race and perform under extreme amounts of stress. Marvin showed that yes, although Mickael’s injury weighs heavy on his mind, he is going out to do his job and do his best for his brother. This is why we all should be cheering loudly for Marvin this Supercross season. I know I will be."

http://www.dirtrider.com/marvin-musquin-question

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1/11/2016 11:56 AM

Good job Keefer.

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1/11/2016 12:00 PM

That's the whole point of a press conference. Ask good questions. Obviously that was one.

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1/11/2016 12:11 PM

I actually don't think there was anything wrong with the question. If Marvin didn't break down during his answer this wouldn't have been an issue, and I'm sure Keefer didn't think any harm would come from asking how his brother was doing.

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1/11/2016 12:18 PM

Yeah, no issues with it. I understand it's a hard question to answer though,

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1/11/2016 12:23 PM

MX690 wrote:

I actually don't think there was anything wrong with the question. If Marvin didn't break down during his answer this wouldn't have been an issue, and I'm sure Keefer didn't think any harm would come from asking how his brother was doing.

Same. If this was another professional sport they would definitely ask a question like this in a press conference. Are MX press conferences only supposed to be questions like "how was your off-season"?

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1/11/2016 12:24 PM

S.Loyer wrote:

Yeah, no issues with it. I understand it's a hard question to answer though,

Agreed

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1/11/2016 12:32 PM

This is a solid write up. This is the kind of information i would like to hear personally. These riders are glorified for what they can do on a bike, but how does the life of supercross (and being an elite level athlete of any kind) effect their personal lives? The stress of life in general is enough for most people, let alone being a professional and all the expectations that come with it. How do these things effect their confidence and their self perception? i would like to see more of what its like to be a professional, the whole story, not just the stories of "yeah my bike is working good, and i worked hard" The story of Marvins brother is a very real thing and it has to effect Marvin in a tremendous way. How it effects him is only a question he can answer.

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1/11/2016 12:33 PM

It's the big elephant in the room. It's why I personally refuse to ride a track with jumps that can kill you.
Keefer did nothing wrong, the risk is real.

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in a past life, I was myself

when opportunity knocked, it waited because I was busy

I gave my father a talking to

1/11/2016 12:35 PM

moto282 wrote:

Same. If this was another professional sport they would definitely ask a question like this in a press conference. Are MX press conferences only supposed to be questions like "how was your off-season"?

"definitely" ?

Honestly, I don't think so.

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1/11/2016 12:35 PM

moto282 wrote:

Same. If this was another professional sport they would definitely ask a question like this in a press conference. Are MX press conferences only supposed to be questions like "how was your off-season"?

Ya, please post a similar example of that... Not gonna happen.

It was a supercross press conference, not the Howard Stern show. Very poor shock jock type question that had no place in a press conference for that particular rider without prior approval. Some people are ok talking about things like that, others, absolutely not. Look at Schumacher's family, they stilllll won't talk about Michael.

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Die Antwoord

1/11/2016 12:40 PM

It was poor judgment to ask it at that time and he owned it and is sorry . I think the people who launched personal attacks and insults immediately without even knowing the guy should be sorry too.

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1/11/2016 12:40 PM

Perfectly reasonable question to ask imo, I would've made the same mistake because as I said, it seems reasonable and actually respectful to inquire. Of course I would've also then been mortified to very quickly discover that I'd accidentally stuck my foot in it. These things happen.

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1/11/2016 12:45 PM

Good write up, Keefer is a good guy. He made an error in judgement, but there's no way he meant any malice in that question.

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1/11/2016 12:49 PM

Speaking as a former journalist and someone who earned a degree from the best Journalism program in the country (Missouri) I thought Keefer's question was totally appropriate, and was asked in a respectful way. It was a press conference, not a publicity event. The role of the media / journalists is to get at the real story of what's going on with these riders, beyond the marketing facade that their employers present to us.

Keefer did no wrong by asking a real question, and Marvin did no wrong by getting emotional. It may have been an uncomfortable moment, but now a lot more people are aware of what he and his family are going through, and will have more empathy, sympathy and respect for him, which is a good thing, IMO

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1/11/2016 12:51 PM

I'm glad this created some controversy.

I think everyone involved in our sport needs a poignant reminder of the potential consequences of riding a dirt bike.

So many in the industry disregard the topic of safety, without thinking of the LIFE consequences. And it's not always about YOU, the rider. You family is affected too, as Marvin showed.

I wonder if every time Reed speaks negatively about neck braces, if he imagines what life would be like to become a high level quadraplegic and the impact that would have on his family and loved ones?
Probably not, because he wouldn't want such thoughts to affect him on the track.

I bet Marvin wishes he could put those thoughts out of his head, but he can't, because for him it is real. He has been affected.

Thanks for asking the question, Keefer.

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Mike

1/11/2016 12:54 PM

It could have gone either way. When I heard Keefer ask that, I actually thought it was very thoughtful of him. He actually cared about something that wasn't the standard bike setup, new teammate, blah blah blah type of question. On the flip side, I see how some can take it as thoughtless. They are probably thinking, "How can you bring up the daily traumatic ordeal the day before the big A is about to go down?".

Even before Keefer's write up about the situation, I viewed his question as a display of concern. Not for the sake of news.

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Before responding to any post, consider these three things...
1. Context!
2. Context!
3. Context!

1/11/2016 1:04 PM

It was a though question. And though questions ... well you know...
If I was in Marvin's place, i don't know how to react. It's important to be respectfull. Witch is often difficult.
I personally think, these questions are too personal. And do we really want to know everything? Maybe yes, but it's a thin line between curriosity and compassion.

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1/11/2016 1:05 PM

jnickell wrote:

It could have gone either way. When I heard Keefer ask that, I actually thought it was very thoughtful of him. He actually cared about something that wasn't the standard bike setup, new teammate, blah blah blah type of question. On the flip side, I see how some can take it as thoughtless. They are probably thinking, "How can you bring up the daily traumatic ordeal the day before the big A is about to go down?".

Even before Keefer's write up about the situation, I viewed his question as a display of concern. Not for the sake of news.

AGREED.

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1/11/2016 1:08 PM

Marvin has brought that up himself couple of times in interviews. Keefer did nothing wrong. Whats up with this Mathilde? So she is the one who can judge what media can ask in press conference? Why is Marvin in there if he is still so emotinal about that? I really like Marvin and im so sad about what is going on in his life, but i also feel bad that Keefer got all this hate from doing his job the way most of us fans wants him do it, asking good questions so we can get good answers from the riders. If you listen pulpmx, you know that Keefer is not mean dude. He has a good heart, and he would never hurt nice guy like Marvin on purpose.

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1/11/2016 1:12 PM

One on one - yes.
Supercross season live press - no.

There are way enough between bike is great n his brother to ask on season opener. Yes we all made mistakes.

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1/11/2016 1:16 PM

tek14 wrote:

One on one - yes.
Supercross season live press - no.

There are way enough between bike is great n his brother to ask on season opener. Yes we all made mistakes.

So the season opener should be reserved for, "how ready are you and your team" questions only? Might as well have it with the team managers.

I think keefer asked the best and only real question the whole press conference.

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1/11/2016 1:19 PM

Hindsight is 20/20. Keefer apologized and if Marvin has forgiven him, I won't jump on Keefer's back any further.

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1/11/2016 1:41 PM

I was actually more surprised by the lack of response from any of the other riders... there was zero, Not a pat on the back or a word was spoken after.

Other than that I feel it was a valid question, but, not the right forum to ask it in.

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Don’t piss off the old people - the older they get the less “life in prison” is a deterrent for them!

2020.5 KTM 450 SXF FE
2006 KX250

1/11/2016 2:14 PM

S.Loyer wrote:

Yeah, no issues with it. I understand it's a hard question to answer though,

I believe Marvin answered the question with his reaction to it.

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1/11/2016 2:19 PM

It should have been discussed beforehand. If Marvin didn't want to talk about it, it should have been made known to the media beforehand. Not saying it was Marvin's fault, but I believe it was asked for the right reasons. Keefer meant no harm and IMO only had good intentions with his question.
I do think Keefer probably should have mentioned to Marvin before the press conference, that he was concerned for his brother and wanted to know if a question on his condition both mentally and physically would be ok. I can't imagine going through something so tough and still competing at a professional level. It's going to be a tough road ahead for MM25, but i am pretty confident that you'll see him do GREAT things to honor his brother. Everyone get off of Keefer's back. It's a tough situation and people respond different to sensitive subjects. Had Marvin known the question was coming, I think he would/could have held his composure better. Keefer made a mistake and has apologized on every outlet possible.

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1/11/2016 2:51 PM

The question seems legitimate. Maybe not very tactful, but certainly not disrespectful. Nothing that deserves such drama.
Booooh, bad Keefer, he ruined Musquin's evening!

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1/11/2016 3:07 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/11/2016 3:09 PM

If this was any other sport other than MX, it wouldn't be a big deal. The "mx media" has to be all buddy buddy with the riders. I can see how Marv might not prefer that question at the moment, but like someone else said, he has brought it up himself in interviews before.

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1/11/2016 3:20 PM

I'll leave this here:

click up to 4:30

&feature=youtu.be&t=4m31s"
&feature=youtu.be&t=4m31s


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1/11/2016 3:27 PM

Tough question but a legitimate one IMHO.

Would I want to answer it? No.

Would I like to know the answer? Yeah, it's interesting...

I guess do unto others, but on the other hand, what is a journo for?

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Cheers, Crush
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