Censorship at its best- When a comment thread I’m involved in, gets taken down.
There is a group on Facebook called The Coaches Exchange, which has a total of close to 14,000 coaches from all over the world. I found out about this group because of Chris DeSantis. So I asked to join the group and to my surprise the administrators added me to the group, I was surprised because I really didn’t think they would want me in the group based on the things I say about abusive coaches, as well as USA Swimming. I’ve been in the group for a few months, and have read all sorts of posts, from around the world. I have kept quiet about most of the things that are posted. Last night I spoke up-today I was kicked out of the group, Censorship at its best.
There wasn’t anything special about the post that one of the coaches made. There was something that caught my attention. A young coach offered some advice, and a YouTube video of Bob Bowman. I made the comment that Bob is not a role model, and basically anything he says or does- is not valid. He has sexually harassed swimmers, has had absolutely no ramifications for his behavior, it was all just swept under the table. This coach and I went back and forth for a few minutes, and one of the things he said was I don’t need to be PC, and the conversation was not a “feeling conversation.” What ever the hell that means.
The coach that posted also made a comment towards me, about Bob Bowman- how the swimmer was 25, not swimming, no one knows what the texts said really, and that it was Sean Hutchison’s fault. So basically she defended Bob, and made up a scenario to go along with the narrative she and others have created. Welcome to swimming culture. I have read, and heard over and over again “he’s such a good coach, look who he’s coached.” Once again I will say that the swimmers excelled in spite of this coach, or any abusive coach. Why do people defend coaches when they don’t know the truth, or any part of it? He’s such a good coach, why would you want to ruin his career? I’m pretty sure abusive coaches- ruined their own careers.
Here’s what reality is- absolutely NO coach should be given the right to mentor, be a role model, or have any part of our sport- if they have been abusive to even one swimmer. It does not matter what swimmers accomplished while any said coach stood on the deck with these athletes. What these coaches do and say, said and did- is not VALID! They are abusers. Quit idolizing coaches, stop being afraid to speak up when something going on is Not ok.
Today I got kicked out of a Facebook group for swim coaches, someone didn’t like what I had to say. Or many someone’s- It’s sad that people can’t handle someone speaking up about what they believe in. I believe it’s incredibly important for coaches, especially young ones- to know what’s going on in our sport and that there are people trying to make our sport safer for the athletes. Clearly those who censored me- kicked me out of the group, do not want our sport to be safer.
At least I know I touched a nerve- I will continue to fight for what’s right and speak the truth. I hope that coaches will take a look at what they really want from other coaches, and ask themselves if they are really ok with having abusive coaches as their mentors. If they do, their swimmers and families should run- far far away!
Update- I was not kicked out the entire group, the thread I was commenting on was taken down. Censored nonetheless!