A Retraction of the "The Story Behind the Greatest Knife of All Time"

This is a retraction of the article "The Story behind the Greatest Knife of All Time."

You may know that Microtech filed a lawsuit against me after I wrote the article "The Story Behind the Greatest Knife of All Time." After discussions, we have resolved the case. During these discussions I learned things that I believe warrant a retraction of the article. This retraction is my own words after much listening, thought, and reflection. Microtech has not asked me to say anything in particular, has not given me hints as to what to include, nor requested I make specific points.

Furthermore, you should know that Mr. Marfione made himself available to talk with me in preparation for this retraction. Mind you, he did so a month before Blade Show, the biggest event in the knife business. He didn't have to do this, but doing so not only helped me better understand the situation, it also shows what kind of a person he is. He is strongly committed to his company and to the knife business (his words: "Lots of passion, few regrets.").

After speaking to Mr Marfione, I now recognize two overarching problems with the article--its bias and tone. I got caught up in a particular strand of “group think” that seems to have infested certain parts of the Internet. That is not fair and does not do a good job of getting reliable information to you, the reader. I regret that the tone of the article was overarchingly negative and unnecessarily demeaning.

I allowed myself to form an opinion based largely upon the attitudes and biases of others. Had I known what I know now back then, and had I been thinking about the situation from a place of fairness, the article would have been very different.

Prior to these circumstances, I have never had any interaction with Mr. Marfione. I literally didn’t know him other than the name. Given that, I should have said nothing about him personally. But I didn’t. And now, having met and spoken to him, I apologize for my hurtful comments. Specifically, I made inappropriate comments about and references to Jared Lee Loughner. Merely associating Mr. Marfione’s name with with Loughner is deeply insensitive. Suggesting that I don’t need to get both sides of a story, was, in this specific instance, the wrong way to approach what is supposed to be a site about gear and providing you, the reader, with all of the relevant information.

Despite what I wrote, Marfione is not lazy. In fact, this could not be further from the truth. Marfione grew up in Rochester, NY the son of a single mother. He had precious few resources as a young man and he realized that he had to work to survive. Fortunately, his mother instilled in him a great work ethic. And so, just after 9th grade, he entered the working world. He has been working ever since. Slowly, he built a company and turned that small knife business into a sophisticated corporation. He has what he refers to as "Kung Fu" thumbs from decades spent pushing steel into belts, crafting not just knives, but an existence for himself and his family. That's not laziness. It is the exact opposite.

It is telling that he did not offer this information up. There was not an ounce of brag or sob story with Marfione--just hard work. What pains me greatly is that his story is very similar to my grandfather's story of how he made it out of Appalachia and made a life for himself and his family. So, to call someone who did what my grandfather did “lazy” is particularly heartbreaking for me. I can't imagine someone saying this about my grandfather, yet I did so to someone who is a grandfather himself.

I also called Marfione greedy. In talking to him, I learned this too could not be further from the truth. He referenced the article's impact on his family, not himself. By “family”, he meant his actual family and his Microtech family, including all of the employees that depend upon him for their livelihood. The Microtech family is large, some 90 people in two locations, and all of them depend on Marfione. He carries that weight with a sense of responsibility and stewardship. He cares deeply about both families and realizes that their fortunes rise and fall on his back. This, it seems to me, is the very opposite of greed.

I am genuinely sorry for the words I chose and I apologize to Marfione and his family, particularly his wife Susan, the employees at Microtech, both in Bradford (where Marfione kept the doors open through some very tough financial times out of loyalty to his people) and in Fletcher and to Hank Greenberg and Jason McCoy, two public faces of the company who have had to deal with these issues since the article was published.

Finally, I regret that people who read that article may have thought that I had some special knowledge that a suit had been filed against Microtech because of the letter KAI sent to Microtech regarding the subframe lock. If anyone does believe that Microtech was involved in a lawsuit regarding the subframe lock, that belief is incorrect. Any implication to the contrary reflects my lack of attention to both sides of the story in the article. Additionally, upon reflection, I wish I had noted the timing of the letter I referenced in the article. Coming just days before Blade, I now appreciate the impact the letter had on Microtech. At the time, however, I just missed this point entirely because I was only paying attention to one side of the story.

I would also like to address the knife that was the reason for writing the article. I assumed that I knew all I needed to know about the specific knives referenced in the article. Like others, I mistakenly believed that I knew all the facts about the situation. Today, having listened to a different perspective, I now know that I did not. While I believed at the time that I was correcting some injustice, I was only being shortsighted.

If you want to support me, and lot of you have kindly reached out during this whole ordeal, do this--hold judgment until you have all of the facts. It is what I should have done. Also do this--stop harassing Microtech and Marfione. Having met the man and shaken his hand, I can tell you he doesn't deserve it.

Let's move on and focus on what we all enjoy here--the knives. And if you haven't noticed, I have never said anything bad about Microtech’s knives. The ones I have had the good fortune of handling are great. Furthermore, what I know about what Microtech has coming confirms that we are truly in a Golden Age of Gear. Amazing stuff is just on the horizon