What did they do?

The most recent turn in this case has been the clubs reactions to the "unfortunate" behavior their coach has admitted to. Yesterday, the club released a statement that the coach has their full support and that he will continue as head coach for the team.

Before this statement from Stabaek and the team came out I didn't really have any expectations as to what would happen. I could see more than one conclusion to Leni coming forward with her story; therefore I cannot say I was shocked or outraged that their statement, supporting the coach is what has come of it. 

However, their statements, including the foundation for their controversial decision is one I find problematic.

Some noted quotes translated into English from the statement, which you can read fully in the links (Norwegian) provided:

- The club has worked intensively through all of last week, to ensure that we have had all the facts on the table before there was a reaction

 -It has been a difficult evaluation, we have spoken with all parties involved and we now know the actual occurrences, and have given the coach a written warning

- We have found out that what is written in the blog is not completely true.

For anyone on the outside reading in on statements like these, because of the implications that they have for women's soccer in Norway, for anyone else who would choose to come forward in a situation like this you would hope that they have done a thorough investigation to claim that all facts are indeed on the table. 

For me, I question to what degree this investigation has actually been done. I ask this, as I know there are three sources of information available in which I have referred to previously: the player, the coach and my blog. Any other information from teammates, club representatives etc. will be disregarded as sources to facts as their previous statements indicates that they were not aware of anything that was going on between the player and coach. This also goes along with the player having stated that she didn't tell any of the players about the situation.

To examine the sources in this investigation by Stabaek:

First source: My blog

As I have been accused of misdefining the proportions of the situation, I have clearly stated that I am willing to discuss my sources with any of the parties involved. Even without this invitation, I would expect that any thorough search for facts would somewhat involve an examination of the evidence that I discussed in my blog. I am the only one who could give a correct understanding of the foundation for the accusations I brought forth. I have not heard one word from the club. So any additional facts other than the one provided in my blog, have not come from me. Because of this, I feel that it's important to ask, since they have not spoken to me or asked for evidence, how can they discredit what I put forth in the blog?

Without speaking to me, they do not know the sources in which I refer, which means that their assertion that there is a lack of truth in my blog is based on their own unwillingness to investigate it.

Second source for information: The player.

 The player with representation from the player union was in a meeting with the club last Tuesday. She told her story to them, and they could confirm that her story was similar to the story of the coach. Based on that they claimed to believe her version. Her story is public, so if you have followed the case, you know as much as the club as to her factual statements. The club has not contacted her after this meeting to investigate her story in depth. 

The players of Stabaek did not get her side of the story nor did any of the players reach out to speak to their long time friend and former teammate before putting forward the statement of support for the coach.

No additional information this last week, besides what has been made public in the media has been given by her.

Third source:

 I have no way of knowing what is said between the coach and the club, but I can suggest that he was trying to defend his position as head coach. Further, the player union and the player knows that that the two versions are similar to each other's, according to the club. It is also stated that he has acted in a manner that is not acceptable to the club.  More than this I cannot comment on this third source, as I do not have any further information. He could be a source of additional information this past week.

My question then is, what other sources have given them information to claim that they have all facts on the table?

-The group of players did not know anything.

I know a lot of people have assumed, due to their statement, that the players must know something. I cannot see that they do. In their statement they claim they haven't seen anything, and the player hasn't told them. Therefore, any comments they might have as contribution are personal opinions on something they have very little insight into. Again: Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

-Other representatives of the club did not know anything that was going on

It would take the discussion to a whole new level if they did.

I do hear people associated with the club speaking as if they know that the player and the coach have been dating. Let me make this clear right now: That statement is part of his strategic defense! The player has made it clear that she was upfront with him, and said she did not want any such relations with him. Repeatedly! Period.

 I also question what answers they were looking for in the search for their facts. Were they looking for objective statements, or looking for a reason to defend keeping the head coach in his position?

Based on the information provided above, I question whether the process by the club was conducted in a proper manner, as their actions might suggest otherwise. One has to ask where their sources of information for these statements lie, and as to how we can be sure it was conducted properly.

Before I go on commenting on this, I realize that there needs to be an emphasis on the fact that at this point this is not a witch-hunt on that particular coach. His name could be untold and his face unseen for the matter in which I am trying to speak up for. I am fighting against anyone who displays this kind of behavior, and we (anyone who is for zero tolerance) are fighting to get a system that works to prevent any form of sexual harassment, and also help the victims in cases like these.  

Further statements from the club in regards to this that are worth noting:

-This was long beyond a simple mistake, and the coach, has admitted that this should never have happened, and said it will never happen again.

- This is a mistake he has done, and now we have to forgive. We all agree on that.

-  With a written warning we have utilized the strongest form for means without firing the coach

- He has our full support

I am not sure if this part of the statement deserves a comment. I read out of this that, what he did was wrong, and it should never have happened. However, it is ok because he has apologized and promised it would never happen again.

On one side the allegations are being dismissed (as he has been allowed keep his job), but then the club turns right around in that same statement to say that it was long beyond a mistake, and something he should not have done!

 He crossed the line, but not too far? If we leave the lines up for definition by coaches who wish to take advantage of them then where is the safety and professionalism in the environment for the players? What about the concept of zero tolerance? That should be the only accepted definition.

I fail to see the logic in this statement.

This is disturbing on a whole new level. Not because I personally need that particular coach to step down. I'd like to think that after what has occurred in the situation that he would stay far behind the line of what is acceptable and professional behavior for a coach in the future. 

What disturbs me is that this now is a situation that the whole country is watching, no doubt other victims of unwanted attention and possibly harassment, who feel powerless and question whether they should come forth with information to authorities and clubs. The message that Stabaek has sent through this situation is that the support is with the alleged perpetrator, not with the victim and the ramifications of this go far deeper than what this situation entails.

 Professor Jorunn Sundgot-Borgen commented on this after hearing about the decision of the club.

She has done studies on sexual harassment, and now fears that a decision like this by the club will make it harder for others to report about sexual harassment. 

In disbelief she stated this as a scandal by the club, and was quoted:

"This is a disaster for the poor athlete in this case, but even worse is the consequences a decision like this will have. Who now dares to report any form of harassment or abuse"?

We know the dark numbers are high, referring to this study conducted by Professor Sundgot-Borgen. The study had 250 of 500 female athletes reporting that they have had experienced sexual harassment. So we know this is a big problem, but yet we fail to bring forth the zero tolerance message.

Instead what we are faced with now is an athlete/person who have reported her story to the club with evidence to back her statement, and a coach who has admitted to being inappropriate. Still, the club disregards the player and fully supports the coach. The message sent out is: DON'T REPORT!

 After posting the blog I have been approached by people of all ages with the same experience as my friend, saying they are happy that we are speaking up because they could not themselves. Today I feel with them! They see the hopelessness in trying to come forth with a story. They see a person who has voiced her story in public with proof beyond what can be expected in situations like these being shut down by her own. They see that the accused is more protected than the victim.

I know there have already been reactions to this, and I will follow the development in suspense as I continue to support my friend and former teammate.  

Woods

 

Én kommentar

Oddvar

21.01.2014 kl.19:55

Leo: Denne saken handler nå ikke om hvorvidt dette er nok for spilleren eller ikke.

Det viktigste i denne saken er klubbens håndtering av den og de signalene klubben nå sender ut til 1000-vis av idrettsjenter (og gutter) landet rundt.

Faktum er at man har en trener som innrømmer å ha overtrådt en grense, en grense hvor idretten i Norge har en nulltoleranse. Brudd på disse svært viktige reglene i idretten må naturligvis slås hardt ned på. Her har man derimot en klubb hvis sportslige leder velger å ikke orientere styret når han blir varslet om saken. Videre har vi et styre som med sin konklusjon og begrunnelse/forklaring til denne sender ut signaler som idretten ikke kan være bekjent av.

Når jeg sender min datter på fotballtrening skal jeg være 100% sikker på at idrettens regler rundt dette står fjellstøtt, at spillere blir tatt på det største alvor og at avvik (som ikke skal forekomme) overhodet ikke aksepteres.

Jeg sender ikke min datter på Stabæk trening for å si det sånn...

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FotballDama

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