I agree and I was a player in this whole scenerio.
Perception is important, absolutely, but common sense must come into play, too. Acussing a team or judge of impropriety MUST be backed up with fact, in my opinion. There's too much $$ and prestige riding on these contests to have sour-grapes and inuendo/rumors get the upper hand.
I fully understand what Ray pointed out and fully understand that "we" need to be very circumspect and professional as cook teams and as judges. I didn't handle the initial discussion very well - but Ray and I discussed it Saturday morning and I ensured him that I understand, fully, his point. I'd have to be an absolute moron to not realize that he did us a great favor in making us take a hard look at what could have been a contentious situation.
I don't agree that "Perception is TRUTH" though I fully appreciate that truism from an ethics standpoint. TRUTH is TRUTH and PERCEPTION colors that TRUTH...it's been a long time since my college ethics class! As most of you can imagine I don't have a PC bone in my body and if anyone wants to play head games with ethics - well, just say I don't play well with others when accussed falsely of unfair or unethical actions.
I don't believe that Brethren judges should avoid the teams - but do agree that we/they should NOT hang out all evening and prep any food...even if it is personal. That was a mis-fire on my part but I really thought we'd have been finished with everything a long time before hand. My bad!
Stop by, have a brew, eat some food, and then roll on down the midway. Perhaps that's the answer. Definately avoid hanging out Saturday (or Sunday at some events) morning - I usually do a stroll through and say good morning to everyone and maybe snag a cup of coffee. But then, I don't arrive on Friday night either.
It is a conundrum and one we should address - and I'm thinking we're seeing that the consensus is/will be that Brethren judges do not hang with the Brethren teams for any length of time prior to the event and it would probably behoove us to not wear our hats and tee's in a judging environment. I've always worn my hat at FBA events I've judged and it's never been an issue - I will be rethinking that due to the potential problems discussed here.
This is new ground for us and reflects the growth of this group and the potential impact it can have since we have logos and a lot of friendships involved. This particular issue at Key Largo was a fluke but in the midwest or now the northeast with a concentrated season and multiple Brethren teams and a pool of Brethren judges it could become an issue - and all it takes is one formal complaint or several rumors for it to get completely out of hand. Thankfully Ray brought it to our attention in a very professional way and as a "friend". Thanks Ray.
As we hash out protocol I think we'll see that common sense will prevail.
Southern Brethren BBQ Competition Team
"It's all about getting paid!" - Myron Mixon
"I love being hated in my hometown!" - David Hair
KingFisher Gator Rotisserie cooker, WSM, Stainless 5 burner with IR gas grill, Turkey Fryer, Weber JD Commemorative grill, slightly used Bandera chamber for future use as a cold smoker, Masterbuilt 40" insulated ELECTRIC smoker