YEARENDER Sport-Athletes, Teams and Leagues Face Abuse and Bullying

U.S. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is sworn in to testify during a Senate court hearing regarding the Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s handling of Larry Nassar’s investigation into the sexual abuse of Olympic gymnasts, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., September 15, 2021. Saul Loeb/Pool via REUTERS

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NEW YORK, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Painful revelations of abuse and misconduct rocked the world of sport in 2021 as athletes at all levels of competition around the world demanded greater accountability from coaches, coaches and the governing bodies that oversee them.

A report released in October sent shockwaves through the National Hockey League (NHL) after an investigation found the Chicago Blackhawks failed to act on player Kyle Beach’s allegations that the video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted him during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Aldrich said the meeting was consensual.

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The report led to the resignation of Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville, who was coaching the Blackhawks when the allegations were made, and promises of reform from the NHL’s upper echelons. Read more

“This needs to be a wake-up call to all the clubs that you need to make sure you understand what your organization is doing because you’re going to be held accountable,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters. , promising changes within the league while defending his own handling of the case. Read more

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) was forced on its own as The Athletic in September described former North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley’s allegations of sexual abuse after speaking to more a dozen players he had coached since 2010. Read more

The report and subsequent fallout engulfed the league, prompting the departure of former commissioner Lisa Baird and demands for reform, as football’s world governing body FIFA launched its own investigation. Read more

“(Everyone involved) didn’t have much choice but to raise their hands and say, ‘Okay, this has got to change,'” league MVP Jess Fishlock told Reuters.

“Do I think now the league is sitting around saying ‘Okay, let’s have this conversation’ – rather than before where they were like ‘We don’t care what you think’? I think that has definitely changed.”

ACTION REQUESTED

Athletes around the world demanded action.

“Many of us still have trauma and mental injuries,” wrote two dozen female footballers from Venezuela in an open letter accusing former national team coach Kenneth Zseremeta of abuse and harassment. Read more

The coaches of the Swiss Gymnastics Federation women’s team resigned en masse in September after an investigation confirmed allegations of psychological abuse of athletes. Read more

Football Australia set up an independent complaints body in October after retired striker Lisa De Vanna said she had been the victim of sexual assault and harassment during her career. Read more

Weeks after encouraging a new conversation about the mental health of athletes at the Tokyo Games, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles appeared before the US Senate Judiciary Committee to condemn USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the FBI for their inaction in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case. Read more

“I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuses,” Biles said.

On Monday, victims of Nassar’s abuse reached a $380 million settlement with USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and their insurers after a five-year legal battle. Read more

“This settlement is about the brave survivors who have come forward, forced these organizations to listen, and demanded change,” Michelle Simpson Tuegel, who represents more than two dozen Nassar survivors, said in a joint statement with Tasha Schwikert Moser. , co-chair of the Surviving Creditors’ Committee.

In July, the US Center for SafeSport permanently banned famed coach Alberto Salazar from athletics, citing sexual and emotional misconduct, after US middle-distance runner Mary Cain in 2019 accused her former coach and the Nike Oregon project. , now closed, with emotion. and physical violence. Read more

The US Center for SafeSport is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides guidelines for sports on how to provide safe environments for athletes and train coaches and administrators.

“Culture change is happening at every level of sport,” US Center for SafeSport CEO Ju’Riese Colon told Reuters.

“SafeSport’s accountability, training and policies make athlete welfare the sport’s top priority, but to see it fully realized, those who resist change must get in or out – it happens with or without them.”

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Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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