This post is very different from any ever posted on this site before, but sadly I felt its content needed to be made public.
I love sport! I always have.
I have enjoyed watching it at the highest level, I have enjoyed playing it and have been privileged to cover it in a media capacity for over 20 years. Like many sports lovers I have also tried to put something back into the sports I have enjoyed, and as a result I have served on committees and boards and have also assisted in coaching both juniors and adults.
I have never been afraid to stand up and say what I think, and have always been willing to listen to other people’s opinions. I have never knocked any suggestion without offering an alternative. Frequently I have been asked to speak on behalf of a group and on occasion when I have turned around for that support it has vanished. Have I regretted standing up and being a target? Never, because I always felt I was representing those who maybe lacked the courage to stand up and speak, I also would never have spoken up if I did not believe in what I was standing for.
I have been told in the past that I have to learn to ‘turn a blind eye’ if I want to get ahead in one sport. I am afraid that I cannot do that. We today are the guardians of the sports we love for tomorrow. Rules and regulations are there to be adhered to, to protect that future, and no one should try to circumnavigate them for any reason.
Sadly, some structures in some organisations are not democratic. They do not enable the masses to have a voice, or to change things, and that cannot be good for the sport.
In the past few months I was asked to be a spokesperson. In the last week I have had aspersions cast on my professional integrity, suffered personal slights and seen an organisation I was working for for two hours a week pressured into demanding my resignation in order to try and stop me speaking. Never have I experienced such a determined attempt to silence me or the people I represent. Has it affected me? Yes of course it has. Has it made me feel I should sit down and shut up? Quite the contrary.
If people are so desperate to silence or discredit you when you have absolutely nothing to hide, one has to ask why? What is their motivation, why do they not want you to ask certain questions?
Hopefully others will consider the situation and also ask the same questions. Hopefully they will ask whether they too should be asking questions. As it would appear that open communication and discussion and a democratic decision process does not exist, and if that should prove to be the case then everyone should be uniting and finding one voice to change things before the sport itself is damaged.
Rather than shut me up, the situation has opened my eyes.