Frisco mayor Gary Wilkinson apologizes to ski racers for marijuana jest
January 30, 2015
On Tuesday evening, shortly before delving into a turf war between Holiday Inn and Medical Marijuana of the Rockies, Frisco Mayor Gary Wilkinson apologized for joking all ski racers smoke pot.
Wilkinson stood before a crowd of nearly 25 athletes, parents and organizers with Team Summit to explain a comment he made at the Jan. 13 town council meeting.
The comment — "If you can find a ski racer that doesn't smoke pot, I'll give you $100" — quickly drew the attention of Jerry Karl, the Team Summit executive director who wrote a letter to the Summit Daily News asking for $20,000 to cover his 400-plus ski team athletes who don't use marijuana.
"I have to get up and talk about this because I'm as passionate about this as anyone," Wilkinson began. "I sincerely apologize for my statement because it was obviously in jest. I didn't want to put in a bad light skiers and the sport of ski racing. I hope everyone understands and I hope everyone accepts my apology."
“I thought it was a heartfelt apology to the community, and I think he regrets what he said, even if it might have been humorous at the time.”
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Wilkinson addressed the crowd for 10 minutes, beginning with the apology before delving into his 40-year history as an alpine athlete, coach and volunteer.
In the crowd was Karl, joined by six athletes who came with their parents. Halfway through his address, Wilkinson pulled a $100 bill from his pocket and held it up for everyone to see. There were a few chuckles when an athlete offered to take it off his hands. Wilkinson laughed as well and quickly pocketed the bill, then returned with a check for $100 and presented it to Karl.
"As a nonprofit, every dollar counts for our budgets," Karl said of the donation. "Our parents, our board members give a lot to the team. I did like that I had one athlete in the back saying, 'I'll take that $100 bill, mayor.'"
Karl and the rest of the ski club attendees were satisfied with Wilkinson's apology, although Karl noted that the comment was likely blown out of proportion when it was paired with an article about the heated battle over the new dispensary moving in next door to the Holiday Inn.
Context or not, Karl still believes "it was an odd thing to say," particularly given Wilkinson's background in the sport.
The majority of Team Summit athletes are between the ages of 5 and 18, and he says parents were upset about the mayor's assumptions that all of them use marijuana.
By the time Wilkinson returned to his seat, Karl and the others in attendance gave the mayor a round of applause.
"I thought it was a heartfelt apology to the community, and I think he regrets what he said, even if it might have been humorous at the time," Karl said. "As mayor, we know he hasn't had the time to be as involved in ski racing, but saw where Gary was coming from and appreciated what he had to say."
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