Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

USA Swimming getting lessons in how not to molest children

with 2 comments

USA Swimming, apparently not able to figure out itself how not to have coaches abuse children, is partnering with the Child Welfare League of America to teach it. Here is USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus, explaining in a joint June 21 news release how this uncomfortable marriage came to be.

“As a youth sports organization, we recognized the importance of obtaining concentrated input from independent experts in the field of child welfare.  After meeting with the CWLA and reviewing the long and distinguished history of the organization, we are confident that we have the best people helping us with our ongoing efforts to serve our membership.”

If Wielgus hadn’t been so stinking clueless and dismissive about problems with swim coaches in ways that would make Pope Benedict blanch, I wouldn’t be so quick to say that this move has please-don’t-sue-me written all over it. Hey, I’ve sat through how-not-to-molest-children training required to coach a Catholic school team, training developed by the church’s liability insurer, so I know a please-don’t-sue-me-move when I see it.

Of course, there are multiple lawsuits already against USA Swimming for various sexual misconduct alleged against coaches, cases that have inspired ex-Olympians such as Diana Nyad and Deena Deardurff Schmidt to step forward to say they were victims, too.

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An attorney in one of the lawsuits dismissed USA Swimming’s announcement, telling The Associated Press that the Child Welfare League of America is a lobbying organization, not one that knows anything about developing youth sports protection guidelines. The league would argue otherwise, but that’s besides the point. After rushing out a seven-point action plan following a devastating report by ABC’s “20/20” on the grabby-hands problem, USA Swimming is hiding behind a brand-name organization so that the next time someone sues, it can say, see, we tried to do something about it. We can’t stop everyone, you know.

Also, USA Swimming’s move would reek a little more of sincerity if it hadn’t, since the “20/20” report, removed coaches critical of its policies from high-profile assignments. Geez, even the Catholic Church lets priests critical of its conduct (or lack thereof) keep their parishes.

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2 Responses

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  1. Perhaps the best solution to this problem is to eliminate youth travel sports. The quality profession has learned that using customer complaint statistics to infer breadth of a category of nonconformity are usually woefully low compared to the anecdotal information that infers that the problem is much larger. It is not out of the realm of possibilities that the number of cases reported is a very small subset of the population of real events. I look forward to you doing a similar story on the monsters that look the other way on youth steroid abuse which has quietly becoming an epidemic where I live. Sellers and shit-for-brains boosters are all complicit. One party is after the money, the other pursue the “high” associated with wins at any cost (and the delusion that they are vicariously the winners).

    leonkelly

    June 22, 2010 at 7:57 am

  2. […] have to do is spend a little time with this here blog to see how youth sports victimizes kids with molestation, hazing, injury, balls thrown violently to the head and complicated relationships with parents that […]


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