Friday, August 30, 2013

Did USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus just start a "food fight" with the press and swim bloggers?

Edited to 3:12 PM EST to correct typos, better format and to better articulate my opinions. 

Chuck Wielgus penned a blog-post stating that you should NOT trust the bloggers criticizing his organization since we bloggers are uninformed and are simply editorializing. Without saying his name most, if not all, of Chuck's criticism was leveled at Irv Muchnick.

I view this criticism as an attack not just on Irv Muchnik Irv Muchnick but on any and all social media blogs and swimming related websites that have run articles critical USA Swimming. 
"... I have seen headlines and tweets about "Congress Investigating USA Swimming" and that simply doesn’t accurately reflect what is going on. It’s true that USA Swimming and the USOC had an initial meeting Wednesday with the staff of the Committee on Education & the Workforce, of which Rep. George Miller’s (D-Calif.) is the ranking minority member. This was an informational meeting and Congressman Miller was not in attendance. ..."

If there were no whispers or factual information that Congressman George Miller of California was indeed looking at investigating USA Swimming, then why did the USOC and USA Swimming's top executive staff fly to Washington when Congress is not in session to state their case?

The links below are to several credible news organizations that have criticized USA Swimming in a fair and measured manner. One is arguably a blog and the other, the Washington Post Editorial Board, is an obviously an op-ed but the fact remains that there is a lot of anger pointed at how Chuck Wielgus is steering his ship and that is why Congress is interested.

  1. Associated Press
  2. ABC NEWS 20/20
  3. Arizona Central (NBC)
  4. The Huffington Post
  5. National Public Radio (NPR)
  6. The Colorado Springs Gazette 
  7. ESPN Between the Lines
  8. The New York Times
  9. The Orange County Register
  10. The Washington Post Editorial Board

I listed ten organizations but there are more. Swimmers, parents, coaches and athletes must realize that USA Swimming is in a poor managerial control and that is why Congress is looking.

Some weeks ago an internal document was leaked within USA Swimming that came straight out of Bruce Stratton and the Chuck Wielgus' office. This "Orwellian" document is titled: Update Safe Sport Action Plan. (I call it Orwellian since there was nothing in there that made the sport any safer.) Therein the document mentions that $200,000 would be budgeted for specific public relations activities. The bulk of it would be spent on a independent review of their Safe Sport program, some of the funds would be allocated towards PR coaching for specific executives such as Chuck Wielgus, and the rest would be allocated to assist any club who is being sued for sexual abuse.

None of this currency was earmarked for victim counseling or medical doctors. It was designated to protect USA Swimming and the Local Swim Clubs only. That policy idea came out Chuck Wielgus' office and it's purpose was not victim oriented or Safe Sport centric at all.

There are many good people in the USA Swimming Safe Sport division. I have dealt with two individuals in that group who were cordial and professional. I am simply not impressed with how their executive director who collects somwhere near $750,000-a-year from the non-profit group does business. Perhaps Congress believes the same.

1 comment:

dulcenya said...

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