Painful revelations of abuse and misconduct rocked the world of sport in 2021 as athletes from all levels of competition across the globe demanded greater accountability of trainers, coaches and the governing bodies that oversee them.
A report released in October sent shockwaves through the National Hockey League (NHL) after an investigation found that the Chicago Blackhawks failed to act on allegations made by player Kyle Beach that video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted him during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Aldrich stated that the encounter was consensual.
The report led to the resignation of Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville, who was coach of the Blackhawks when the allegations were made, and promises of reform from the upper echelons of the NHL.
“This has to serve as a wake-up call to all clubs that you need to make sure you understand what your organisation is doing because you are going to be held responsible,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters, promising change within the league while defending his own handling of the case.
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) was forced into a reckoning of its own as The Athletic in September outlined allegations of sexual abuse by former North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley, after speaking to more than a dozen players he had coached since 2010.
The report and subsequent fallout engulfed the league, prompting the departure of former Commissioner Lisa Baird and demands for reform, as soccer’s world governing body FIFA launched its own investigation.
“(Everybody involved) didn’t have much of a choice than to kind of put their hands up and go ‘Okay, this needs to change,'” league MVP Jess Fishlock told Reuters.
“Do I think now that the league is sitting down going, ‘Ok, let’s have this conversation’ – rather than before where they were like ‘We don’t care what you think’? I think that has definitely changed.”
Across the globe, athletes demanded action.
“Many of us still have trauma and mental wounds,” two dozen Venezuelan women’s soccer players wrote in an open letter accusing former national team coach Kenneth Zseremeta of abuse and harassment.
Zseremeta did not respond to a request for comment sent via Facebook message.
Trainers for the Swiss Gymnastics Federation’s women’s team resigned en masse in September after in investigation upheld athletes’ claims of psychological abuse.
Football Australia set up an independent complaints body in October after retired striker Lisa De Vanna said she had been the victim of sexual assault and harassment during her career.
Weeks after promoting fresh conversation around athletes’ mental health at the Tokyo Games, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles appeared before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to condemn USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and FBI for inaction in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case.
“I blame Larry Nassar and I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” said Biles.
In July, the U.S. Center for SafeSport barred famed coach Alberto Salazar permanently from track and field, citing sexual and emotional misconduct, after American middle-distance runner Mary Cain in 2019 accused her former coach and the now-shuttered powerhouse Nike Oregon project of emotional and physical abuse.
The U.S. Center for SafeSport is an independent non-profit organisation that provides sports with guidelines on how to provide safe environments for athletes and training for coaches and administrators.
“Culture change is happening at all levels of sport,” U.S. Center for SafeSport CEO Ju’Riese Colon told Reuters.
“SafeSport accountability, training and policies are making athlete well-being sport’s top priority but to see it fully realized those resisting change need to get on board, or get out – it’s happening with or without them.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris)
Sask. RCMP issue Canada-wide warrant for anti-vaccine dad charged with abducting daughter, 7 – CBC.ca
Saskatchewan RCMP have charged and issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for a Carievale, Sask., man accused of abducting his daughter to prevent her getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Michael Gordon Jackson, 52, is charged with one count of abduction in contravention of a custody or parenting order, RCMP said in a news release Friday evening.
It comes after CBC News reported earlier this month that the father fled with his seven-year-old daughter, Sarah, in mid-November to keep her from getting immunized against the coronavirus. Jackson’s ex-wife, Mariecar Jackson, had wanted to get their daughter vaccinated, but Jackson did not.
The girl had been visiting her father when she was allegedly abducted.
Since an enforceable court order was issued earlier this month, investigators say they have followed up on several tips and reported sightings of the father and daughter — including by reviewing surveillance footage at several businesses. However, no tips have led to locating them.
At this point, RCMP say, the criteria for an Amber Alert has not been met, which is why Mounties are continuing to ask the public for help in tracking the pair down.
“Sarah: we want you to know that you are not in any trouble,” Chief Supt. Tyler Bates, the officer in charge of the Saskatchewan RCMP south district, said in a message to the girl contained in the news release.
“Your mom misses you very much, and we have police officers doing what they can so you can see her again soon.”
Sarah is described as four feet two inches tall, 76 pounds, with waist-length brown hair that’s all one length. She has brown/hazel-coloured eyes and last wore teal-coloured eyeglasses.
Michael Jackson is described as weighing about 250 pounds with blue eyes and dark brown hair. He also typically wears glasses, RCMP said.
While Jackson resides in the Carievale area — located in Saskatchewan’s southeast corner — Mounties said he may have connections to the communities of Dilke, Oxbow, Alameda and Regina, along with Lamont, Alta. RCMP said he may also be in Manitoba.
“Locating Michael Gordon Jackson and Sarah is a top priority for Saskatchewan RCMP officers,” Bates said. “Our investigators are diligently following up on all tips and reported sightings. We are committed to locating Michael Gordon Jackson and reuniting Sarah with her mom.”
WATCH | Sask. woman says she’ll never stop looking for her child:
RCMP noted that investigators believe Michael Jackson may be getting help in evading police and reminded people that this activity may result in criminal charges.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Michael or Sarah Jackson is asked to call the Saskatchewan RCMP at 306-310-7267 or 306-780-5563. Tips can also be anonymously submitted to Crime Stoppers at at 1‐800‐222‐8477 or www.saskcrimestoppers.com.
China’s Investment into Foreign Media
Over the last few decades, China’s power and influence have grown remarkably quickly. The largest country in Asia is now one of the world’s biggest superpowers, and its influence has extended across the continent and into new territories as the Chinese government looks to cement its power for the future. According to a recent report released by Reporters Without Borders, China has started investing in foreign media to deter criticism and spread propaganda.
According to the research, “China’s Pursuit of a New World Media Order”, Beijing is spreading its worldview through several techniques, including increased international broadcasting, huge advertising campaigns, and infiltration of foreign media outlets.
China has recently opened laws across the country to give its people more freedom. However, there are still many restrictions in place, including against online gambling. Despite this, Chinese citizens can get online and place sports bets and wagers at online casinos, using trusted online gambling portals such as Asiabet. Interested players can access a wide range of leading casinos and sportsbooks through the site as well as information regarding the legality of the recommended operators, safety, and strategy before joining up, making it easier for players to understand what they’re getting into.
Why Is Chine Looking to Control Foreign Media?
The Chinese government is spending up to $1.3 billion a year to boost Chinese media’s global reach. Chinese state-run television and radio shows have been able to dramatically expand their foreign reach in recent years because of this financing. China Radio International is now transmitted in 65 languages, while China Global Television Network is distributed across 140 countries.
Considering the current global geopolitical climate, this looks to be a smart move, as it allows China to present itself how it wants to be seen to a global audience. In recent years, China has gained media attention across the West for its influence on North Korea, its expansion into the South China Sea, and its treatment of the minority Uighurs within its own country.
How Is China Influencing Foreign Media?
The Chinese government has recently increased spending on advertisements in Western newspapers and publishing sites to promote Chinese viewpoints. Advertising dollars have enticed media outlets, which has had a particularly large impact considering news media is currently struggling with profitability. China Daily, a mouthpiece for the Chinese regime, has paid American newspapers 19 million dollars in advertising and printing in the last four years alone, according to US Justice Department records.
China is also aiming to influence and control foreign media outlets by purchasing interests in them, according to the research. The report found that, in many cases, Chinese ownership typically leads to self-censorship, and journalists have lost their jobs in the past for publishing negative articles about the country.
For example, Reporters Without Borders claim that a journalist for South Africa’s Independent Online, which has a 20% investment in Chinese investors, had his column stopped in September 2018. This came just hours after a column about China’s mistreatment of ethnic minorities was published.
Reporters Without Borders has also claimed that, in addition to buying shares in media firms, Beijing has impacted foreign media by inviting journalists from developing nations to China for training. According to the report, China invited several Zambian journalists to a specially designed event named the 2018 Zambia Media Think Tank Seminar.
What Does This Mean for the Future of Western Media?
China has long had a lack of press freedom, with the country ranked 177 out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index in 2021. It looks like the country is using domestic tactics used to control media narratives and bring them to the wider world, allowing it to control what people say about the country and regime in other countries too. By silencing and pressing foreign journalists and news stories, the Chinese government is damaging the trust that people place in the media.
Some people feel that this report is likely to be the tip of the iceberg. It could be that the influence from the Chinese government is even greater than previously expected. While a lot of foreign governments will often have an impact on media in other countries to control a narrative, this is on a scale never seen before.
Despite this, there are many journalists around the world who refuse to be influenced and still work hard to preserve the integrity of journalism. Reporters Without Borders will continue to document and report on the extent of China’s influence on foreign media.
Emmy-winning actor Louie Anderson dead at age 68
The star of the comedy series “Baskets” died in Las Vegas, where he was admitted into a hospital earlier this week for treatment of diffuse large B cell lymphoma, publicist Glenn Schwartz told the entertainment publication.
Anderson was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy Series, winning one in 2016 for his role as Christine Baskets on the FX series.
He also won two Daytime Emmys for outstanding performer in an animated program for “Life with Louie,” a program that aired on Fox in 1997 and 1998.
The Saint Paul, Minnesota, native was a counselor to troubled children before he got his start in comedy when he won first place in the Midwest Comedy Competition in 1981, according to Deadline.
Anderson was in Eddie Murphy’s 1988 hit movie “Coming to America.” He also hosted “Family Feud” from 1999 to 2002 and starred in several situation comedies over the last two decades.
Anderson wrote several books, including “Goodbye Jumbo … Hello Cruel World,” a self-help book for people struggling with self-esteem issues.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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