A professional mountain biker from Whistler is apologizing for his involvement in last Wednesday's (June 15) Vancouver riot after images of him participating in the riot surfaced on the internet and multiple media outlets.
Alex Prochazka, the 20-year-old local who is better known in the biking community as Alex Pro, was photographed posing in front of an overturned, burning vehicle during the mayhem that ensued after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
Prochazka issued a statement of apology to The Question by email on Tuesday (June 21).
"I am extremely sorry about the negative light that has been cast on my community, my family and my many supportersin Whistler and everywhere else due to my highly publicized actions during the Vancouver riot," he said."I sincerely apologize for what I did. More importantly, my thoughts are with the direct and indirect victims of that riot.
"I promise all of you that I will do everything I can to make amends and be the best person I can be."
However, an apology isn't enough for some of Prochazka's sponsors, such as Oakley Canada. Prochazka was wearing Oakley apparel during the riot.
On Tuesday, Oakley issued a statement on its Facebook page that said the eyewear supplier was cutting ties with Prochazka over the incident.
"Oakley does not condone or support the actions taken by Alex Prochazka," said the statement. "And as a result of his behaviour, Oakley Canada has elected to end its association with Alex Prochazka effective immediately."
The decision by Oakley came after an announcement was posted at nsmb.com stating that Prochazka had resigned from Team Young Guns, a sponsored mountain bike team that the Whistlerite has been part of since 2008.
"In light of the current negative publicity around Alex, he is concerned that this should not reflect on his sponsors and teammates," said the statement. "He has consequently opted to step away from the team.
"The Young Guns Team is sorry to lose a talented athlete and friend and appreciate his consideration."
Prochazka was also the only Canadian athlete sponsored by Target, but his profile page has been pulled from the retail giant's website.
While it's unclear exactly what Prochazka's involvement was in the riot, he does appear to be among a group flipping over the vehicle he is seen posing in front of later.
"I didn't go there for the riot," Prochazka told the Vancouver Sun earlier this week. "I went for the hockey game and got caught up in the hysteria of it afterwards."
Prochazka is one of many people who have been the target of online anger after being identified in photos and videos of the riot. He was specifically singled out on one website dedicated to publicly shaming those involved in the incident.
Some individuals and their families have reportedly had to flee their homes after they became the target of threats once identified.
Fortunately, the situation hasn't become that out of control for the Prochazka family, and Alex's parents, Tom and Claire, also issued a statement on Tuesday expressing gratitude to the local community during what's been a difficult time.
"We would like to thank those folks who have reached out to us with words of support during this stressful time," they said. "A few kind words amongst the negative can go a long way."
Alex Prochazka is a former U17 national downhill mountain bike champ and is a regular fixture at high-profile slopestyle events.