This is what these players denounced, Wednesday, in a message posted on social media, two days after announcing the departure of the women’s national team coach, John Tate, following an investigation conducted this winter by a human resources company. .
Investigators collected testimonies of 37 athletes. They concluded that Tate’s behavior was not described as harassment, as defined by the union. But both sides decided it was better for Tate to leave the team.
We followed the procedures set out in the Canadian Rugby Policy, which was put in place in 2013, the 37 players write in a statement. We feel the process failed to protect us and acknowledge the abuse and harassment we thought we experienced. Since then, Rugby Canada has changed its policy in 2013.
Players call for real change and believe that there is a culture of fear and silence in sport when athletes experience emotional abuse, intimidation and harassment.
They add that
Athletes should never experience extreme anxiety, depression, racism, eating disorders, low self-esteem or mental illness as part of their participation in sports, regardless of level..
Rugby Canada has a responsibility to ensure they understand our experiences and lead the way towards a positive and respectful training environment, the statement added. We intend to participate in the discussion so that the positive changes in our sport can be implemented. Rugby Canada has assured us that the independent evaluation will begin immediately and we look forward to working with them.
Players who have lodged an official complaint on the origin of the process represent 55% of current and former athletes who have participated in the central training program of the women’s 7-man senior team.
Their press release states that the other athletes share the complaints raised by the group, but have chosen not to participate in the process for personal reasons.
The submission concludes as follows:
We demand full recognition of the athlete. We believe that by working together we can improve our sport for future generations. Here’s why now.