We want to clarify that in the discussion we were invited to the discussion, just to make it clear that our “protest” was in fact authorized.
On another note, I would like to ask why our alledged behavior warrants the maximum punishment stated in which is a new addition to that rule for this year. This is our first incident in all the many years all of our team has been competing, and as you can see many other teams can attest to our good faith, in and outside the competition.
With regards to the season DQ, we still feel as if this is a situation primarily based on heresay from both sides: the 5 sources you have, and over a dozen testimonies (volunteers, refs, and students) that we collected.
We understand your frustration with the comments regarding the RECF made by others, however we feel that the community only wants the best interests for the foundation. In light of others testimonies on the RECF we believe there needs to be some type of accountability held in situations described in this thread.
Punishing a team who that has had no previous incidents with the maximum consequences doesn’t seem justified, especially since this seems to be a recurring problem specific to the region.
Our team and others hate to see the frustration brought about in some of these situations described, that have caused many teams to actually quit Vex Robotics. This is an organization that we truly love, but when we see that there is a problem we must be advocaters for change.
Now this response was pre written before the official response from Dan but I would like to say thank you Dan for the clarification and quick response.
Alright, before I begin my post let me provide some context and backround about 448x for those who do not know them. 448x is a independently formed team which was was the result of a break off from a school affiliated team. All the members on 448x were in this school affiliated team for the past 3 yearsbefore they decided to venture off on this own after a difference in opinion and practices. This decision to leave the team was not easy though and was a difficult for them. I can say this as I witnessed them leave the team and know all the members of 448x personally. This departure of these members left a sour taste in those who were still on the shcool affiliated team as well as those who were associated with them and might possibly be the souce of bais against their team.
Now for the facts:
Like many teams would be in such a situation, 448x was quick to try discover the understanding about the ruling against thier team as they were overwhelmingly filled with exterme passion and energy coming off a final match for the state championships. I was personally at the event and reviewed the stream after and they did this with the upmost respect and good intention. Never did any member of 448x harass or verbally abuse referees and had every intention of respect and courtesy when asking for clarification. Under VEX rule a team is allowed to ask for clarification from referees after a match and 448x was simply exercising that right with no intention of disprespect towards the referees at the competition. Now I know there are different viewpoints to the situation but with a lack of solid evidence with what prompted the complaints against 448x there isn’t much to go off of.
The tournament space can often be filled with emotion especially when trying to qualify for the world championship and I think this is a simple misinterpretation of the situation. From their break off from the school organised team a bais against them has formed as they have been viewed by many as a group of rebels who were only in it for themselves. This infact was not the case. While with the school affiliated team, the members of 448x we’re reminded constantly to be “The most charming thing on 2 feet” and I see them living that out every tournament. They are a passionate team that is not just looking to win but for also fairness.I personally haven’t had much interaction with RECF and the higher-ups yet it is very unfortunate that there efforts to uphold due process, proper justice, and fairness I believe are being undermined through a personal bias.
Here are some statements about the situation that have not been discussed yet,
The RECF is negatively biased against 448X because the members were originally on another team, and there are very loose ties to that other team within the RECF
The RECF is negatively biased toward independent teams not affiliated with a school, at least in this situation. In my opinion, if this was any other non-independent team, that team would not have been disqualified for the season and worlds
Here are some examples supporting this statement,
- The RECF used a social media post as evidence, which had nothing to do with the situation. The post had nothing, and the majority of the RECFs evidence was not from comments made by 448X
- They contacted 448X’s head school administrator, in my opinion, to validate their decision to disqualify 448X from worlds. The school administrator actually backed 448X and did not think this was fair. The administrator supported 448X, but the RECF went against the administrator even though the administrator wanted other punishment rather than a full season and world’s disqualification.
448X qualified to worlds prior as the Google Signature Event winners. 448X already paid for the world’s spot, flights, and hotel rooms.
There have been multiple quotes from highly respected individuals saying this punishment is too harsh
They also wanted 448X to apologize when the RECFs accusations did not align with what actually happened at and after the event.
Finally, it’s unfair that 448X is receiving this treatment. If the RECFs goal was to keep its volunteers, I can say without a doubt this will lose them many.
Though I am also interested in hearing clarification as to why the students’ school administration was brought in, given that they are an independent team, in the interest of keeping things respecful and civil I would refrain from referring to the RECF’s alleged biases as facts. They may appear to be true in this particular situation, but that’s far from universal. Anecdotally, team 5225 has never had any issue that stemmed from our independence from any school.
First, thank you for your quick response to the concerns in this thread. Thank you also for clearly laying out the timeline of what happened.
I have a few questions though.
Can you specify exactly what kind of G1 violations 448X committed? Was it verbal or physical abuse? Offensive language? I (and many others) are wondering what a team could possibly have done short of physical violence that would necessitate a DQ from all remaining events in the season. Solidifying the offense would really help here.
Since much of the evidence presented in this thread so far seems to show innocence, or at least a lack of anything truly egregious, can you elaborate on these testimonies? Did the G1 violation occur while the team was talking to the head ref about the call? Or was it due to interactions not shown on camera?
I have a hard time with this one. This was not just a quick error to exclude the team from presenting their evidence. This was over two weeks after a decision had been rendered, and much time had passed in which the team could have presented their evidence while the event was still fresh in everyone’s minds. The fact that it took this long is disturbing.
Would you be willing to share those reasons with us?
Should “our” be replaced with “the” or “their”?
Why was it necessary to involve school administration for a robotics team that is not affiliated with the school?
I find this somewhat contradictory. From your own statements, the RECF accused, made conclusions, and punished 448X without knowing all the facts and without giving the team an opportunity to present their side of the story. Does this not show a lack of respect on the part of the RECF for due process or to giving the team the benefit of the doubt?
One more thing:
I ask that you change this policy. I think it would be very beneficial to hear directly from the community how it feels. It would also help to build a good rapport with the community and would help us to give you and the RECF the benefit of the doubt that you request. As it is, however, there are multiple other open threads where you have been requested for comment and either have not replied at all or have not replied beyond an initial notice of investigation.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read and consider the responses from the community and respond to them.
How is this surprising? They are less than a month away from hosting a mega event and I imagine Dan’s work schedule has to be unbelievably busy. Furthermore, If one of my trusted employees tells me hes made a decision and he’s taking care of it I’m going to let them have their space and continue on what I am doing.
calling it disturbing is a bit unfair in context.
After watching you guys drag a person through the mud for what is suspected of him, there is absolutely no reason for the RECF to hand this over to you guys. It would possibly lead to more internet lynchings.
Gotta say I see your point here. I’d be upset too.
I wonder why we are focused on just the interaction with the ref. Perhaps the team vented in the pits near another team or volunteer that reported it. If it were particularly inappropriate I could see that being a major factor. I only mention this because I know such scenarios happening in our state.
@TheColdedge this possible scenario you outlined is exactly why people want RECF to release evidence. None of us know and we are trying to find out. Attempting to gather all the evidence seems like the most fair standpoint, and I hardly think you can blame people for trying to get enough information information to make a proper judgement.
Look guys, If these are testimonies of people with possible identifying information included. Could you see after watching what has been basically outright character assassination why they would refuse to share that?
I mean I remember that one kid that was banned from the forums for sending harassing phone calls and he wasn’t even tangentially involved, so even if you personally would treat this evidence with respect doesn’t mean some other person won’t take “justice” into their own hands.
I am one of the parents of 448 xEcho. I have to correct some of the things said by Mr. Mantz . His carefully worded responses leaves out some very important facts:
States at Damien High School . The kids were not allowed to protest the call, they were not even informed of the call, they had thought they won. They did win 22-9. However the head ref( who had just graduated from Damien High School a year or two before), instead grabbed the microphone- there were announcers who had been announcing the entire day- and gleefully announced he was DQ the team for pinning and then announced their score. The kids were shocked. So they asked to speak to the head ref and he herded them into a corner.
By all accounts, including my personal knowledge and all the evidence that we have been provided , there was no disrespect from 448x, Where they shocked, of course, especially the way the ref handled it.
3 After the event, the ref was bragging that he had DQ an “entire red alliance” last year and if anyone continued to question his call, he had the power to make sure 448x did not win any awards at Worlds.
Parents who were there wanted to lodge a complaint against this ref and asked his name, he refused to give is as did the event partners when they were asked.
Despite this, one of the representatives from 448 x met with the head ref and apologized and things seemed fine.
On March 4, 2019 without any warning, an email was sent to the coach of 448s with a heading DQ from Worlds. It was from Tarek and contained allegations that the team had posted “harrassing and egregious messages” online after the event. This was false. The 448x coach asked to see the posts so he could take disciplinary action against the offending team. The posts were never shown to the team or the coach. Tarek was very hostile. No one from 448x or anyone else for that matter was consulted or asked what happened before this punitive action was taken.
Without really knowing what they were being accused of, the team wanted to mend fences, not break them, and they issued a formal letter of apology , very heartfelt to Damien High school event partner.
The team chose to try and work things out with Vex and contacted Dan Mantz, instead of posting immediately on the forum. They wanted to try and resolve this without having to make all this public.
The team offered to fly to meet Mr Mantz, to answer any questions he had, show them their evidence and again apologized. The parents supported this and were ready to take their kids to meet Mantz.
Mr. Mantz refused to consider their evidence. He refused to meet with the kids.
The team persisted, all they wanted to was to get their spot, back which they had earned at GOOGLE weeks before, and had earned again at States,
They continued to ask to see the alleged evidence and posts so they could respond. They were denied this request over and over. How can they defend themselves without knowing who was attacking them .
The kids sent in their packet of evidence, including the apology letter, and statements from various coaches and team members, some of whom were afraid to identify themselves for fear of retaliation from Vex, which as a parent, causes me such great concern.
The kids hoped that once they shared their evidence, Vex would do the same. However, instead, they were told that the only way they could see the evidence against them is if their school administration was involved. The coach informed Vex they were not affiliated with a school ( as they had gone independent a year before). The ex-coach of their prior team was the one who instigated the complaint against them in the first place.
The kids, still wanted to work this our informally and see the evidence against them so they could respond and hopefully get back to Worlds which they had earned .
The first question from Dan Mantz had in this phone call was not about what happened, it was
“Why did you leave the school team?” Why would that be the question he was asking the kids in front of their principal. Wonderfully enough, the principal responded with a great answer and told Mr Mantz he supported the kids decision and they were fantastic bright kids . The School principal encourage Mr. Mantz not to take the punitive action of banning the kids from worlds.
Mr. Mantz responded that Tarek and Nancy in California would be extremely shocked that the principal of the school was advocating for the kids. ( i.e the reason for bringing in the principal was Not transparency-whatever that is- but to threaten the kids from continuing to pursue their challenges and request for evidence by bringing in the school principal-who had no purpose in this issue at all). This same ploy had been used last year by California Contingency when they DQ several other teams allegedly violating G1 and then called their school to spread accusations against the kids in retaliation. It didnt work this year. The kids were not deterred by the threat by Vex that they would not show this “undisclosed evidence” unless and until the school administrator was involved.
The Principal then had a discussion with Steven from San Jose, who then said he would refer to Tarek, who had the final word.
When our kids qualified for Worlds at Google, we parents all purchased round trip tickets ( non refundable for out kids and our families). This has all caused great harm to us and our kids.
Please dont say get over it and move on.
These kids worked every day in the summer in 100 degree temperatures in a warehouse with no air conditioning to get to where they were. It was just them, no corporate sponsors,no big school behind them, which is why Vex does not want them to succeed.
What if all our kids break off into independent teams, the school money goes away. The volunteers go away, Vex would actually have to pay for referees and locations to hold independent fair competitions.
My hope and request to all parents and to Vex:
I am hoping that Vex will stop bullying children into being afraid to speak up. Look at the last line of the CEO’s post, he will “shut it down” the post down if he wants. I wish that Vex would use the millions of dollars that they collect from all of us to hire professional referees who are impartial and to hold their events at impartial locations. This should not happen to any other child who works so hard for the love of robotics and is disappointed and worse loses their passion for robotics because Vex is designed only to make money, and to do that, the use " volunteers" who are either parents of students competing, friends or past team mates of kids competing. The events are held at “host schools” hosted by parents of teams competing.
This all lends itself to “volunteers” who are not trained professionals, who are not fair and impartial ( who can be when it comes to your lovely child or best friend) who make decisions and have absolutely no accountability. Not only that, Vex very seriously threatens anyone who questions a volunteer. They can do whatever they want with absolutely no regulation or respect for the children and they know it.
I pray for all the kids who love robotics that this changes.
To the parents:
Support your children, don’t do what I did and blindly turn my money over to Vex every year and never question the fact that they do not hire anyone independent to referee,. Even my peeway baseball kids had a paid independent referee. Yet Vex makes millions of dollars every year,. Insist that Vex hire referees who know the game and how to interact with kids. Insist that Vex hold its events at public locations, not schools where the parents and best friends of one team are the “event partners” .
Insist that Vex provide rules and regulations to the referees ( if they refuse to hire professionals referees or paid independent referees ) and hold the referees accountable to be respectful to the kids.
Insist that Vex have a “no retaliation policy” so that kids are not threatened, bullied and afraid to speak up for fear of being accused of violating “G1”
And if you want to find a kinder gentler place where kids like ours on 448x can love robotics and feel free to speak out… keep in touch with 448x echo new and exciting things are coming…
I did not ask that Mr. Mantz in particular review the evidence. In fact, I think that it would have been ideal for him not have had to be involved at all. I was (and am) disturbed that a team was punished without any chance to show their side of the story, and was prevented from properly doing so for over 2 weeks by multiple people in the RECF.
As analogy, suppose a Judge has a hearing on the same day as a very important event that he absolutely must attend. He listens to the argument of the prosecutor, and then realizes that he must leave soon to make it to the event. The right thing to do is to postpone his judgement on the case until a later time, when he has had a chance to hear both sides and can make a fair and informed decision. What has happened here is the judge, running out of time, hastily decided against the defendants. The defendants were then forced to spend the next two weeks trying to get the attention of officials that the trial had not been properly conducted and to get an appeal through.
This is not how dues process works. If there is not enough time to review the evidence, the judgement should be postponed.
In the above analogy, would you not be disturbed if you were a member of the same community as the defendant, with the knowledge that you may one day have to go before that same judge?
I don’t think we are accomplishing anything here. It sounds like there may be some personal grudges envolved and the RECF was simply brought into the middle of this. Weather they intended to be or not.
I do wish we had independent refs but that bottleneck would cause issues.
I have heard this argument many places, and I have to say, I really, really dislike it.
I don’t care that the RECF is a private organization. I don’t care if they are not legally obligated to provide a worlds spot to 448X. I don’t care if they are not legally obligated to provide due process.
What I do care about is what is right and ethical. The RECF is ethically obligated to go through due process before making a judgement against a team, just as you and I are ethically obligated to listen to both sides of this issue before making a judgement for ourselves. I believe this to be true regardless of whether 448X was justly or unjustly prohibited from attending worlds.