Canadian bobsleigh, skeleton athletes object to non-disclosure clause in contract & More News Here

Canadian bobsleigh and skeleton athletes worry their nationwide federation is making an attempt to silence them, saying a clause in their athlete settlement contradicts the rules of protected sport.

The Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton athletes’ settlement for 2022-23 features a clause that athletes not “divulge or convey to others” any info that paints BCS in a poor gentle. And the non-disclosure clause stays in impact for six months following the termination or completion of an athlete’s contract.

“It basically draws attention to the very thing we’re complaining about, that everything is very one-sided, they hold the power and they’re continuing to dig in by extending the force of which their power can be wielded, to tell us as athletes that we can’t speak negatively against BCS,” mentioned one athlete, who requested not to be recognized for worry of retaliation.

The clause has been in the contract for at the very least 4 years, in accordance to a number of athletes who spoke to The Canadian Press on Monday.

But their worry of reprisal has grown since greater than 60 present and former athletes publicly referred to as for the resignation of BCS president Sarah Storey and high-performance director Chris LeBihan on March 7, amid what they mentioned was a poisonous atmosphere in their sports activities.

Rob Koehler, the director common of Global Athlete, a worldwide athletes’ rights group, mentioned the clause “is a prime example of a federation that puts athletes’ rights last.”

“The only way forward is to allow athletes freedom of expression when issues arise,” added Koehler, who’s based mostly in Montreal. “Every person has a fundamental right to freedom of expression. They are humans first, athletes second.”

The 60-plus athletes who penned the letter in March grew to greater than 90 in the times that adopted, and have been supported by Olympic champion Justin Kripps and bronze medallist Christine de Bruin. De Bruin instructed The Toronto Star that “The whole way down the track [at the Beijing Olympics], I was like, ‘F-you, f-you, f-you.’ I really did do it in spite of BCS,” she says of successful that medal.

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Several nationwide sport organizations together with Athletics Canada, Canada Basketball and Water Polo Canada instructed The Canadian Press they don’t have any such clause in their athletes settlement.

“Woah. I would never sign that,” mentioned a longtime nationwide crew athlete, who’s not in bobsled nor skeleton.

Water Polo Canada adopted the athletes settlement template written by AthletesCAN, in partnership with quite a few Canadian sport representatives, in 2019. NSOs have been strongly inspired to use that settlement.

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Boxing Canada has a clause that states an athlete: “Not publicly (including through social media) disparage or advance any grievance against Boxing Canada, Boxing Canada’s staff or coaches, members of the National Team, or other HPP (high-performance program) athletes except through Boxing Canada’s policies for complaints and appeals and the dispute resolution procedures provided for therein.”

Canadian boxers penned an identical open letter to Sport Canada on May 4 asking for a third-party investigation and the resignation of high-performance director Daniel Trepanier, saying Boxing Canada cultivated a poisonous tradition of worry and silence. Three-time world champion Mary Spencer instructed The Canadian Press that Trepanier “should have been fired years ago.” Trepanier resigned 4 days after the letter was despatched.

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Mandy Bujold speaks after Boxing Canada’s high-performance director resigns

Canadian Olympic boxer, Mandy Bujold, joins CBC Sports’ Jacqueline Doorey to talk about the fallout from Daniel Trepanier’s resignation over claims of a poisonous athletic atmosphere inside the program.

Madison Charney, who not too long ago retired as a skeleton athlete, mentioned the BCS athletes settlement leaves no room for negotiation.

“Athletes can’t come back and say, ‘We agree with these sections, [but] you have to edit these sections before we’ll sign them,”‘ mentioned Charney, who competed on the World Cup circuit for a number of years, however wasn’t named to Canada’s crew for the Beijing Olympics.

“It’s different being an amateur athlete versus being a professional athlete, where they understand you’re the asset. Our federation doesn’t understand we’re the asset.”

In what Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge has referred to as a protected sport “crisis,” the previous few months have felt like floodgates opening. Hundreds of Canadian gymnasts have referred to as for an impartial investigation, and retired gymnast Amelia Cline not too long ago filed a class-action lawsuit towards Gymnastics Canada and 6 provincial gymnastics federations alleging years of bodily and psychological abuse by her coaches.

Rowing, rugby, synchronized swimming and ladies’s soccer have additionally referred to as for a cleanup of their sport’s poisonous tradition, whereas Canada’s males’s soccer crew refused to play Sunday’s World Cup tune-up recreation towards Panama amid a contract dispute between the gamers and the game’s nationwide governing physique.

St-Onge has been vocal in her help of athletes talking out, telling The Canadian Press in March that “it is because of their strength and courage that we’re acting with an even greater sense of urgency.”

Several bobsled and skeleton athletes mentioned little has modified in the three months since their public letter. They mentioned they rejected a proposal from BCS for third-party mediation, after Michelle Simpson was named the mediator. Simpson was additionally the mediator in Kaillie Humphries’ case towards BCS. Humphries gained two Olympic titles for Canada, however joined the American crew amid her bitter battle with the Canadian federation, and raced to gold for the U.S. this 12 months in Beijing.

“We never ever entered into an arena [of mediation],” mentioned one athlete. “The way BCS went about it contravenes their own policies as to how a mediator is selected; it’s supposed to be a mutually agreed upon third party. We felt that [the mediator selected] was not a good-faith act and these would not be good-faith discussions.”

The BCS board of administrators mentioned in a press release Monday that it’s “working through a process proposed by national team athlete representatives which, at the request of these representatives, requires Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton to maintain confidentiality.

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“Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton’s Board of Directors stay dedicated to figuring out and resolving the problems introduced ahead by athletes by this discussion board that encourages open dialogue and transparency.”

At the request of the board, athletes presented a 24-page document of their complaints last month.

Charney said the non-disclosure clause “continues the gaslighting that we have been experiencing for the final X variety of years. They inspired us to communicate out and so they inspired us to carry our concepts to the desk. And as quickly as we do this, we’re reprimanded.”

Both bobsled and skeleton will host national team camps next month in Calgary, and so athletes will need to sign agreements — which is also a requirement to receive government funding, or carding — in the coming weeks.

Charney said despite the frustration of the past few months, she’s proud that bobsled and skeleton may have paved a path for athletes in other sports to speak out.

“We are grateful that we gave different folks a platform to give you the option to communicate out, as a result of we all know how onerous it was to initially come ahead and to give you the option to enable different athletes to do this, that made all of it worthwhile.”

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