Path 27

House panel finds Olympic leaders valued image over safety

Path 27

A congressional review of the U.S. Olympic system’s handling of sex-abuse cases criticizes a culture that sought to protect reputation and image over athlete safety.

A House subcommittee released the report Thursday, outlining conclusions about the handling of sex-abuse cases involving Larry Nassar and others that have led to calls for change at the U.S. Olympic Committee and the sports organizations it oversees.

The report acknowledges the changes that have come since Nassar’s crimes were exposed. But it criticizes the lack of conformity among the organizations, noting some didn’t use background checks or publish banned lists.

The panel’s recommendations include a review of the law that governs the USOC, and the USOC using its authority to more actively protect athletes.

USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland pointed out the federation formed the U.S. Center for SafeSport and is reviewing how it engages with the national governing bodies and athletes. A report commissioned by former WNBA President Lisa Borders is expected next year.

Trending:
Maskless GOP Rep Tells Pelosi to 'Come and Get Me' as Capitol Police Are Ordered to Arrest Those Who Don't Comply with Mandate

“We will continue to do the work necessary to develop a healthy culture that keeps athletes safe and allows them to be their very best,” Hirshland said.

In one of the most striking examples of the diffuse policies that exist in the U.S. Olympic system, the report included a table detailing each NGB’s policy on how it handles banned lists. Each response was different; 18 of the NGBs do not publish their lists.

Those differences are part of what has made it difficult for the SafeSport Center to publish a comprehensive list of all banned people — among the many tasks it was given when it was established in March 2017.

The report said perhaps its most troubling finding was a culture that prioritized image over safety.

It included instructions to panels that deliver sanctions that included “the effect on the USOC’s reputation” as one of the factors to consider when deciding on penalties. That bullet point has since been removed.

Also in the report was a deposition from a USOC attorney that underscores the general state of confusion about the relationship between the USOC, the NGBs and the athletes. On a day-to-day basis, NGBs have more direct contact with athletes than the USOC. Meanwhile, the USOC provides funding to NGBs but doesn’t have much say in their operation.

In a 2016 deposition related to sex abuse, USOC attorney Gary Johansen was asked: “You want to protect your athletes from being sexually abused. That’s a top priority, right, sir?”

Johansen’s response: “The USOC does not have athletes.”

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



loading

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
Path 27
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




loading

Conversation