Wow. Pro-cyclist David Clinger just got his entire face tattooed. That's him on the right at the Rothaus Regio-Tour 2004, albeit before his facial tattoo. Clinger has now been kicked off the Webcor team unless he agrees to laser it off — to put it into context, it took twelve hours to do, so I imagine it's quite a large tattoo. Some text from the article:
"He's not functioning as any part of this organization until he can remedy this situation," [team consultant] Scioscia said. "I don't want to see this harm the people who are innocents in the equation, impacting 12 guys unrelated to the action. Little things tip the scale for the sponsors. This is so outside of the arena of the sport, I'm just bummed with it to begin with. I keep thinking this is a dream we'll all wake up from."
Clinger explained that he had the tattoo done in late January over a 12-hour session in Argentina, his fiance's homeland. Asked if he expected to get this type of reaction from his new team, Clinger replied, "I knew it would be controversial, but I kind of just did it... I needed it, and wanted it."
"I'm so competitive, racing bikes year after year, I felt it falls in line with being a warrior ... I have a Polynesian necktie' tattoo, which is on the top of one shoulder to the other shoulder. It's supposed to protect the body and whatnot.... I've crashed so many times, I'm lucky to be alive."
Of the team's initial reaction and request to have the tattoo removed, Clinger explained that he was ready to "walk in there and have them fire me if they wanted to."
If anyone has a picture of the face tattoo, please send it my way, I'd love to see it. Alternately, if you'd like to contact the club and let them know they're making a terrible mistake in banning Clinger for riding due to his tattoo, here is their contact page.