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Steffensen punished for blowing whistle on athletics culture

Roar Guru
31st January, 2013
12
1174 Reads

It is a very sad day in sport when a governing body has to punish the whistle blower to save its own credibility.

Athletics Australia has seen fit to go through with its threatened six-month ban on 400-metre runner John Steffensen.

This is a not only bewildering, as the decision was made in the face of the evidence in front of them, but it also undermines the greater public’s faith that elite sport is governed by professional and broadminded people without personal agendas.

As previously documented several times by this author, John’s reference to a racism issue stemmed from the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. This incident was witnessed by Stave Hooker. John was not bringing up the incident again in London to be languished over, but was making the point that racism is alive and well in all sports and sections of society.

While Hooker verified the incident he encouraged Steffensen to move on from it. After speaking to him many times on this issue, it is just one of many he has encountered, swallowed up and kept on running during his career.

So it appears that Athletics Australia, rather than acknowledging that the Beijing incident occurred and publicly apologising to John, has taken the route that John is the source of all evil and banned him for tarnishing them, or in effect, whistle blowing on some questionable management practices.

Perhaps John should take up asylum with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Let’s face it, AA are not going to come out and admit they were wrong and that one of their previously employed officials had acted in an inappropriate racist manner towards one of its athletes, they will save face by condemning the whistle blower as being outside his box.

While many may not like John personally for his outspoken manner and the way in which he brings issues to our attention, he has only spoken the truth for which he has been condemned.

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It is akin to all those who were threatened with law suits for suggesting Lance Armstrong was a drug cheat.

They only spoke the truth.