The New York Athletic Club has been around for 144 years. It has traditions, a storied history, and a commitment to excellence. It is, of course, civilized. There are squash courts, Olympic medals won by members, a fancy headquarters with a library. It exists, in large part, for the pursuit of sporting excellence. It is a place where one must wear a jacket and tie, if one is a man, to dine. It has even seen fit to dub itself "the world's greatest athletic club." It is also now, and forever will be, the location of a brawl. Not just any brawl, but "an unscheduled fisticuffs session: a knock-down, drag-out brawl that unfolded at the club’s Tap Room in the wee hours of April 13 and ended with two people sent to the hospital and three men under arrest," according to Andy Newman and Christopher Reeve in The New York Times. For shame! The club's president, S. Colin Neill, is not amused. His letter to members following the event, however, is wonderfully amusing in its perfect mannerliness, probably because we are not, and never will be, members of the New York Athletic Club.
The Times posts this letter in full, but here's how it begins:
Dear Fellow Member,
You may have heard about the fight that occurred in the Tap Room late on the evening of Thursday, April 12th. I cannot state forcefully enough how abhorrent this event is to me, personally, and how contrary it is to the standards of decorum that we expect of our members and their guests.
Appropriate action is being taken against all of those involved. Such conduct will not be tolerated at the New York Athletic Club.
Neill goes on to tell the members that distributing "via the various social media" pictures and letters that besmirch the club's good name (aka, it is not cool to post a YouTube video of that awesome fight) will "not be tolerated. It is the responsibility of each and every member to protect and embellish the standing of the NYAC.” Hide the wrongdoing. Hide it away, never to be discussed again in mixed or any other company.