Apr 07 2009

My Message to Mike Klis, Denver Post Sports Columnist, Regarding Abuse of Players by Athletic Coaches

Here is a copy of my post to Mike Klis. I will publish any reply he makes to me.

Article Discussion: Klis: Sad day? Yes, but Cutler had to go

Postby billmartin on Today, 8:56 pm

I disagree with your views and whether Cutler makes it in the NFL or not, McDaniels move will be viewed as a classic management mistake by someone, perhaps because of his age and experience, who misunderstood the concept of dual relationships or the impact of different levels of power in relationships.

Coaches have and will continue to abuse players simply because players have less power than coaches. Female athletes have to worry about more than play time on the field. They are at seriously at risk of being the victims of inappropriate sexual comments, touching, glaring, sexual abuse and worse at the hands of mostly male coaches.

In an international study on the different attitudes of players and coaches on sexual harassment, 28% of the coaches surveyed thought it was OK to propose a sexual encounter with a player that included rewards or threats of rejection. This means these coaches thought it would be ok to suggest to a player, “if you have sex with me, I might give you more play time on the field.”

Also, 53% of the coaches believed that caressing an athlete was not harassment. Would you want any coach to think it was OK to “caress” someone’s daughter? I don’t think so.

For more info on this study, see Naomi Fejgin and Ronit Hanegby, [b]Gender and Cultural Bias in Perceptions of Sexual Harassment in Sport, International Review for the Sociology of Sport 2001.

Here is the link to the article: http://irs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/36/4/459

You can also google Celia Brackenridge, PhD and follow links to her academic research on the subject of abuse of players by athletic coaches.

My family is writing our own book about the abuse of our daughter when she became a whistleblower of the abuse of her friend by one of her soccer coaches.

Really, we learned that very few people, even parents, care about the abuse of minor female athletes by popular athletic coaches.

Of course, the details of the Jay Cutler situation is different. However, some of the psychological dynamics are similar. Even the “circling of the wagons” by the Denver Broncos management and their friends.

People of all ages are being abused in sports, and needlessly.

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