NWC Supports Bipartisan Whistleblower Amendment to Olympic Reform Bill

Published on November 15, 2019

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NWC Supports Bipartisan Whistleblower Amendment to Olympic Reform Bill

Washington, DC | November 15, 2019 – Senator Gary Peters’ (D-MI) recent bipartisan amendment, developed in partnership with longtime whistleblower advocate Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), to the Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act that would strengthen whistleblower protections for Olympic and amateur athletes who report abuse was approved by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee this week. The National Whistleblower Center supports these anti-reprisal measures that would promote athlete safety and protect them from abuse and retaliation.

Fostering an atmosphere that puts athletes first is critical to the success and growth of young athletes. The Grassley-Peters’ amendment will increase transparency and accountability in the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the U.S. Center for SafeSport, the investigatory body for sexual abuse allegations against athletes and their coaching staff. The creation of clear, protective avenues to encourage athletes to come forward without fear of retaliation will allow athletes to oust systemic abuse.

John Kostyack, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, said this in support: “Given the findings by the bipartisan Senate Commerce subcommittee of systemic abuse at the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics and the retributions against those who spoke out against it, the urgent need for whistleblower protection could not be more clear. The Grassley-Peters legislation is exactly what we need to protect the ability of vulnerable athletes to report abuse and to help deter future misconduct.”

This fundamental whistleblower protection will protect athletes by codifying the right to confront abuse and end retaliatory practices. Retaliation at the hands of coaches and teammates can silence athletes from coming forward thus propagating a system of abuse. A system that protects abusers is not a system that works. Critical legislation such as this clearly establishes a process of coming forward, not only to remedy the impact of retaliatory actions, but to protect and give a voice back to young athletes.

For more information, please contact Nick Younger at nick.younger@whistleblowers.org.

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