Esteemed snowboard journalist Matt Barr wellsummed up the Shaun White conundrum when he wrote, “Shaun White’s crime is that he makes no attempt to hide these uncomfortable truths,” alluding to his commercial and competitive success.
He probably couldn’t hide them if he tried. To be honest, I doubt he thinks any of this is a problem. For better or worse, he is who he is. And in twenty first century snowboarding, where pretending you’re some paragon of authenticity while paying thousands of pounds to go and swan around in an island for rich people seems to be some mystifying part of the snowboarding identity, that is not acceptable.
Yep, like him or loathe him, Shaun White is a reflection of where snowboarding is today. As Matt says, “But it also means he’s not a hypocrite. And in some weird way, I actually admire him for that.”