Tarah Kayne details abuse allegations against sanctioned coach Sappenfield

Vagabond

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Thanks for the link, @Coco. Of course, the rules vary by state, and there are added complications when more than one state has an interest in the matter. In my case, the abuse happened in California, and my brothers and I all still live in California.

In California, the investigation of a mandated report of historic child abuse may lead to the abuser's being listed on the Child Abuse Central Index and subject to certain restrictions such as the ability to work with or adopt or foster children.

As far as I know, however, there is no comparable index for perpetrators of elder abuse. There should be, but apparently there is not.
 
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overedge

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In this case, though, I’m not even sure how much the particular questions she was asked here - or the adversarial tone Brennan took - could have reasonably been anticipated.

Given that the Sappenfield story was all over social media and in USA Today, I think it was very reasonable to anticipate that there would have been questions about it. Especially as Alexa is a former student of Sappenfield.
 

VGThuy

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I think it’s a bit funny people use Simone Biles being asked constantly about Nassar in Tokyo as if it may not had any affect on her considering how Tokyo went for her, and how she stated her trauma with the whole Nassar situation contributed to it all exploding during Tokyo. And one thing I learned about the way sports media is constantly adversarial with athletes is that although athletes are seasoned to take it, many of them are heavily affected emotionally and psychologically by constant attacks by the media and have begun speaking up against it. I also noticed sports media gain ratings and viewers by appealing to base aggressive caveman like arguing. I wouldn’t think it’s type of investigative journalism to model oneself after as I rarely find a sports reporter to respect.
 

PRlady

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I think it’s a bit funny people use Simone Biles being asked constantly about Nassar in Tokyo as if it may not had any affect on her considering how Tokyo went for her, and how she stated her trauma with the whole Nassar situation contributed to it all exploding during Tokyo. And one thing I learned about the way sports media is constantly adversarial with athletes is that although athletes are seasoned to take it, many of them are heavily affected emotionally and psychologically by constant attacks by the media and have begun speaking up against it. I also noticed sports media gain ratings and viewers by appealing to base aggressive caveman like arguing. I wouldn’t think it’s type of investigative journalism to model oneself after as I rarely find a sports reporter to respect.
The reporters who uncovered CTE in the NFL (which I no longer watch for that reason) have my respect, as do a couple covering the Washington Football Team and the awful reign of Danny Snyder.

Like any other beat there are unprincipled reporters and those who only go for the clickbait, and there's some who really try to do their jobs when the athletes expect them to be ubering them all the time.
 

el henry

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What a useless question from Christine Brennan to Alexa K. about mandatory reporting. Does she have any evidence that minors were abused at Dalilah's camp? Because as a mandatory reporter myself, my duty is to report abuse of minors. And if Christine does have such evidence, would she please share it?

Christine Brennan is not a crusader, is not shining a light on abuse, and certainly is not just "doing her job" by asking irrelevant questions of random individuals. Especially badly phrased conjunctive questions that couldn't be used to support anything.

I would love for someone less interested in seeing her own reputation burnished follow up and pursue this story and any others regarding these horrific coaching practices. My heart breaks for Tarah.
 

overedge

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And one thing I learned about the way sports media is constantly adversarial with athletes is that although athletes are seasoned to take it, many of them are heavily affected emotionally and psychologically by constant attacks by the media and have begun speaking up against it.

It's not just the media. It's also the fans who think it's OK to attack the athletes because the media are criticizing the athletes. The same kind of echo-box as in Trumpland.
 

Vagabond

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What a useless question from Christine Brennan to Alexa K. about mandatory reporting. Does she have any evidence that minors were abused at Dalilah's camp?
As has been discussed above, Alexa Knierim would, as a coach, be a mandatory reporter to SafeSport, whose jurisdiction extends to sexual abuse and sexual harassment regardless of the age of the victim.

Knierim's response to one of Brennan's questions appears to indicate that she either did not witness Sappenfield violate the applicable code or that she did not perceive any conduct to be abuse.
 

el henry

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As has been discussed above, Alexa Knierim would, as a coach, be a mandatory reporter to SafeSport, whose jurisdiction extends to sexual abuse and sexual harassment regardless of the age of the victim.

Knierim's response to one of Brennan's questions appears to indicate that she either did not witness any violation of the applicable code or that she did not perceive any conduct to be abuse.

So if she witnesses abuse in California, where she is a coach, she is a mandatory reporter under SafeSport.

Pennsylvania, which has very strong child protections laws (the Jerry Sandusky law, essentially) does to my knowledge not mandate historical reporting of any abuse (ETA: other than that reported by the victim. All the language is in the present tense). And does not retroactively impose those conditions to times when one was not a mandatory reporter.

Does SafeSport?

And given how badly the query was worded, still useless as far as I can tell.
 

overedge

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I seem to recall some mention of Alexa and/or Chris coaching while they were still Sappenfield's students, as in occasionally coaching lower-level skaters at the same rink to earn some income. Does anyone else remember this?
 

Vagabond

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@el henry

Anyone can download the SafeSport Code at this webpage:

Sexual Misconduct

It is a violation of the Code for a Participant to engage in Sexual Misconduct. Sexual Misconduct offenses
include, but are not limited to:

1. Sexual or Gender-related Harassment
2. Non-consensual Sexual Contact (or attempts to commit the same)
3. Non-consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempts to commit the same)
4. Sexual Exploitation
5. Bullying or hazing, or other inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature.

2. Sexual Misconduct....

The Center encourages anyone who experiences or becomes aware of an incident of Sexual Misconduct to immediately report the incident to the Center (and to law enforcement if the matter involves possible criminal conduct).

If an Adult Participant reasonably suspects that an incident(s) of Sexual Misconduct has occurred, they must immediately report the incident(s) directly to the Center.
The term "has occurred" suggests to me that an Adult Participant who reasonably suspects that an incident of Sexual Misconduct has occurred at any time must report the incident.
 
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nikjil

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I have no problem with Brennan's question, she's a journalist, it's her job. If the USFSA didn't expect that the journalist who has been reporting on the story would question one of that coach's most successful skaters, both they and she are fools.

As to the mandatory reporter issue, I'm also an attorney, and as everyone has pointed out those laws vary state-to-state and sport-to-sport. Many of the figure skaters I know taught classes and coached low-level skaters while they were still skating. Some were minors at the time themselves and certainly weren't PSA certified. If that practice is going to continue, then there has to be some education for these skaters on mandatory reporting issues, or the rinks need to reconsider hiring minors to teach classes. I certainly can't imagine having the fortitude to report an adult coach as an abuser as a teenager, and having to report your own coach for abusing another skater takes a great deal of courage. This is also all assuming that the skater even recognized the behavior as abusive.
 

Tavi

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Given that the Sappenfield story was all over social media and in USA Today, I think it was very reasonable to anticipate that there would have been questions about it. Especially as Alexa is a former student of Sappenfield.
I generally agree it was reasonable to assume there might have been questions on this subject.

However, as I think I’ve already said, I don’t think the specific questions she was asked were reasonable.

I think Alexa might have reasonably anticipated neutral questions designed to elicit facts - such as “did you ever witness or experience any abuse while you were training at the World Arena.”

In contrast, the questions she was actually asked were adversarial in tone, designed to put her on the spot and rattle her into saying something, and contained the implicit but unvoiced assumption that Alexa knew something that she timely failed to report. Basically Brennan used the same kind of tactics that an aggressive defense attorney would have used against a key witness whose story she was trying to break. If there was any doubt that she wasn’t neutral, her tweets put it to rest. That’s what I think couldn’t have been anticipated, and in the context of a press conference where the questions are generally along the lines of “how are your quad attempts going” it seemed way over the top and inappropriate to me.
 

B.Cooper

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I can not imagine what the skaters who worked with DS have experienced over the almost two decades she coached at the Ice Hall in Colorado Springs. Unfortunately, we all can imagine the worst case scenarios.

Edited to add: Having known Ms Brennan for almost 20 years, as well as other journalists that cover a broad variety of sports and other topics, it is their job to ask sometimes difficult questions. Figure skating, like several other USOPC sports, quite often has younger athletes, that perhaps, as others have pointed out, some athletes who are still in their teens when competing at the elite level, and perhaps, are not as well scripted or prepared for press events. That is unfortunate. In the moment of the press conference when you are expected to respond, young inexperienced athletes can often misconstrue the focus of the question or mis-speak. Journalists work on developing relationships with the folks they interview. That is part of their job. I think the 10 pages of analysis of what was exchanged during the conversation between Alexa and Ms Brennan is off topic. I think the bigger issue here is the dominating control by coaches over their athletes, and the potential risk for mental health issues as well as physical abuse. Let's focus on what needs to be done to correct the problem. Brennan's job is to bring light to the issue.

Some pertinent points:
*The coaches are not employees of USFS. They are independent contractors for the most part. Many figure skating clubs and rinks have chosen this route for a broad variety of reasons, but generally for tax reasons, this is how employment is set up. the PSA certifies the coaches. PSA is the "official figure skating coaches’ education, training, and accreditation program for USFS and the ice sports industry". All coaches need to fulfill their yearly PSA compliance requirements in order to coach at any USFS sanctioned event, which includes their USFS membership renewal, background check, SafeSport training, CERs, liability insurance, and PSA membership renewal.
** A note on the PSA membership website page has updated information on liability insurance for the current 21/22 season:


"PSA will not be able to offer a liability insurance policy this season. At this time, PSA recommends purchasing your insurance through U.S. Figure Skating.
The current insurance market for amateur/youth sports risks is very challenging right now due to concerns about the following:

  • Abuse claims
  • Concussion/head trauma claims
  • Legal challenges to waiver and release and assumption of risk defenses
  • Higher frequency and increased severity of claims
  • Increased potential for class action lawsuits
  • Claims inflation

In response to these concerns, insurance carriers are introducing more restrictive coverage terms and conditions, introducing exclusions or other limitations of coverage, reducing policy limits, increasing premium rates, and as in the case of our previous policy provider, no longer writing coverage for amateur/youth sports risks altogether.

Since the incumbent insurance carrier for the PSA coaches' program was unable to offer comparable renewal terms to the expiring program, other markets were approached in an effort to secure more favorable renewal terms. Unfortunately, all of the other insurance markets ultimately declined for various reasons, including concerns about historical loss experience, inability to offer more competitive coverage terms and conditions, limits, rates, etc.

Despite our best efforts, PSA will not be able to offer a liability insurance program option for this season. At this time, PSA recommends purchasing your insurance through U.S. Figure Skating to meet coach compliance requirements. We will revisit the possibility of reinstating the PSA coaches' liability insurance program next year."

This distancing of the PSA and the coaches' liability insurance is not surprising.
Coaches can purchase liability insurance through USFS.


Also, Safe Sport released a brief two page summary (July 14, 2021) on their inaugural survey on the athlete culture and climate within the NGBs of the USOPC. Almost 4000 athletes representing 50 sports responded. Sadly, the statistics are not good.

"Key findings from athlete participant responses (rounded to nearest percentage):
  • 9% experienced inappropriate sexual contact during their sports involvement.
  • While 28% believe sexual, emotional, or physical misconduct is a problem in their sport, 48%
    are aware of coaches developing sexual relationships with athletes.
  • 93% who experienced sexual harassment or unwanted contact did not submit a formal
    report/complaint of it.
  • Nearly 18% having unwanted sexual experiences also indicated they were retaliated against.
  • More than half who indicated having unwanted sexual experiences said that some or all of
    those experiences happened when they were under 18.
  • Approximately 65% indicated experiencing at least one of 18 indicators of psychological harm
    or neglect.
  • Approximately 22% indicated being physically harmed."

This initial survey doesn't really do the deep dive on the mental health component.


Take aways from the survey:
"As a result of the findings from this survey, the Center will do the following to help increase athlete safety and well-being:
  • Develop additional educational resources focused on retaliation, power imbalances, and reporting abuse.
  • Establish a web resource connecting athletes with available mental health resources.
  • Develop a feedback mechanism to inform the Center’s Response and Resolution process.
  • Release an annual Public Impact report, starting in 2022, to provide insights on what we learn
    from athletes and updates on our progress.
  • Release new video resources to better guide individuals through the Center’s Response and
    Resolution process.
  • Evaluate the 2022 Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies (MAAPP) implementation and
    impact, with feedback informing MAAPP updates planned for 2025.
  • Publish annual SafeSport audits of each NGB."
 
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overedge

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I generally agree it was reasonable to assume there might have been questions on this subject.

However, as I think I’ve already said, I don’t think the specific questions she was asked were reasonable.

I think Alexa might have reasonably anticipated neutral questions designed to elicit facts - such as “did you ever witness or experience any abuse while you were training at the World Arena.”

In contrast, the questions she was actually asked were adversarial in tone, designed to put her on the spot and rattle her into saying something, and contained the implicit but unvoiced assumption that Alexa knew something that she timely failed to report. Basically Brennan used the same kind of tactics that an aggressive defense attorney would have used against a key witness whose story she was trying to break. If there was any doubt that she wasn’t neutral, her tweets put it to rest. That’s what I think couldn’t have been anticipated, and in the context of a press conference where the questions are generally along the lines of “how are your quad attempts going” it seemed way over the top and inappropriate to me.

I don't agree with this characterization. This was a press conference, not a court trial, so judging what Brennan did by the standards of what happens in court is meaningless.

Of course Brennan is not neutral on this issue. She shouldn't be, because terrible things went on at Sappenfield's rink. She's doing her job as a reporter by trying to find out more about what happened. As @PRlady said earlier in the thread, "Sometimes being a good human being means doing your job and it naturally includes conflict with other good human beings doing theirs."

I don't agree that Brennan was "trying to break" Alexa's story. Alexa didn't have a story until Brennan asked the questions. As I read the transcript, Brennan was asking follow-up questions to clarify what Alexa might or might not have known. That's not trying to "break" someone, that's trying to fill out the narrative of what happened.

A good PR/communications person could have anticipated all of the questions that Brennan asked. At the very least they could have told Alexa to say "no comment" or "the situation is being investigated by SafeSport and I'll leave it to them" to any questions about Sappenfield, no matter what the questions were or what tone they were being asked in.
 

PRlady

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I don't think this happens just in the U.S. A big question is why pairs skating?
Well for one thing, the size differential required often means a younger female with an older male. That's a power equation right there. One could argue that unlike dance there's a natural physical domination built in, with the female getting lifted above the head and thrown and all that, but that's not really provable one way or another.
 

Debbie S

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Well for one thing, the size differential required often means a younger female with an older male. That's a power equation right there. One could argue that unlike dance there's a natural physical domination built in, with the female getting lifted above the head and thrown and all that, but that's not really provable one way or another.
And in both pairs and dance, there are many more females than males, a big part of the power differential. If speaking up and standing up for yourself means losing a partner, girls learn to stay quiet.
 

gkelly

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Well for one thing, the size differential required often means a younger female with an older male. That's a power equation right there. One could argue that unlike dance there's a natural physical domination built in, with the female getting lifted above the head and thrown and all that, but that's not really provable one way or another.

Yes, and also the fact that there are many more female than male skaters in the sport to begin with, so of those who are interested in pursuing pair skating (or partnered ice dance), the males structurally have a big advantage in terms of finding partners, which gives them power within the relationships.
 

Tavi

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I don't agree with this characterization. This was a press conference, not a court trial, so judging what Brennan did by the standards of what happens in court is meaningless.

Of course Brennan is not neutral on this issue. She shouldn't be, because terrible things went on at Sappenfield's rink. She's doing her job as a reporter by trying to find out more about what happened. As @PRlady said earlier in the thread, "Sometimes being a good human being means doing your job and it naturally includes conflict with other good human beings doing theirs."

I don't agree that Brennan was "trying to break" Alexa's story. Alexa didn't have a story until Brennan asked the questions. As I read the transcript, Brennan was asking follow-up questions to clarify what Alexa might or might not have known. That's not trying to "break" someone, that's trying to fill out the narrative of what happened.

A good PR/communications person could have anticipated all of the questions that Brennan asked. At the very least they could have told Alexa to say "no comment" or "the situation is being investigated by SafeSport and I'll leave it to them" to any questions about Sappenfield, no matter what the questions were or what tone they were being asked in.
It’s fine if you disagree with me and/or how I perceive Brennan’s questioning. I understand this wasn’t a trial - it was a stupid little pre-competition press conference - but for me that’s all the more reason why Brennan’s tone and questions were inappropriate. Regarding what a competent PR person could have done to prepare Alexa - well it seems pretty clear that USFS is at least as deficient in that department as USAG, so IMO it doesn’t really matter what a competent person could have done.

Regarding what actually occurred at the World Arena: it’s very clear from what Tarah herself said that Sappenfield was awful and abusive to her, and that she suffered a great deal of emotional harm. I am in no way trying to minimize that. Nor am I saying that Alexa is or isn’t blameless or that she did or didn’t fail to report when she should have. None of us know that, including me. We also don’t really know what else happened, when, and to whom. I am in no way saying that Brennan shouldn’t be dogged in her pursuit of the truth. All I’m saying is that in my opinion, the pursuit of truth would have been better served by a different approach than Brennan took here.
 

overedge

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And in both pairs and dance, there are many more females than males, a big part of the power differential. If speaking up and standing up for yourself means losing a partner, girls learn to stay quiet.

Yes. And if a female skater has to choose between skating with a partner who's rumoured to be abusive or not skating/competing at all, some might choose the allegedly abusive partner. I've seen this happen - usually with some justification on the part of the woman like "the others didn't know how to handle him, but I can" or "oh, it's only rumours". (NOTE this is not victim blaming, just trying to explain the reasoning as to why someone would make the choice.)
 
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overedge

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It’s fine if you disagree with me and/or how I perceive Brennan’s questioning. I understand this wasn’t a trial - it was a stupid little pre-competition press conference - but for me that’s all the more reason why Brennan’s tone and questions were inappropriate. Regarding what a competent PR person could have done to prepare Alexa - well it seems pretty clear that USFS is at least as deficient in that department as USAG, so IMO it doesn’t really matter what a competent person could have done.

IMO it does matter. I agree that USFS' PR is incompetent and should have prepared her better, but a competent preparation would have helped Alexa give answers that could have shut down that line of questioning or redirected it. As was pointed out, a USFS rep also could have stepped in and guided the questioning.

And it doesn't matter that the press conference was a pre-competition conference. If USFS just wants the media to report on the competition, it doesn't even need to hold a press conference - it can send out statements/backgrounders with prepared quotes. USFS can call a press conference and give a topic for the conference, but it doesn't get to control what reporters ask or how they ask.
 

PRlady

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One thing skaters should be aware of is that their interests will differ from USFS when organizational reputation is at risk. USFS Comms is going to protect the organization. If a skater wants to say something that implies criticism of TPTB, they’re at the very least going to be hung out to do that on their own.
 

mackiecat

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First I am not implying that “either skater is guilty or innocent”.

It is just interesting how many posters are jumping to Alexa’s defence and how many vilified Vanessa James. I’m assuming no one on this board are huge confidants of either woman and really knows what either one knew or didn’t know.
 

kwanfan1818

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I think the bigger issue here is the dominating control by coaches over their athletes, and the potential risk for mental health issues as well as physical abuse. Let's focus on what needs to be done to correct the problem. Brennan's job is to bring light to the issue.
I don't think anyone has said that it isn't her job to bring light to the issue. The question is whether this tactic was appropriate, especially since there are so many other people with so much more power who had responsibility to report for so many years, plus the way an experience journalist phrased a dual question to imply that Knierim coaching career was especially relevant. And she didn't ask them or Knierim's partner.
 

el henry

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Brennan herself claims to be neutral. She spent half her self promotion time on TSL telling us how she just recites the facts and makes no judgments and has no opinions and so forth and so on.

Brennan can ask whatever she wants, of course, but this badly worded compound query undercuts her "just the facts ma'am" persona that she presents.

Do I want more facts? Yes. Do I want to see what persons in actual real positions of power knew and didn't know? Absolutely.

This exchange does not give me confidence in Brennan's ability to get that information. YMMV.🤷‍♀️
 

jiejie

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I found the mention upthread about the PSA and inability to offer liability insurance coverage to skating coaches, very interesting, and something I hadn't previously thought about. If growing numbers of abuse claims and potential claims against skating coaches makes (from an insurer's perspective) for an unacceptable risk/reward ratio, it may get to where coaches in the USA have an extremely difficult time finding any liability insurance, at least not at an affordable price.

I cannot believe that the majority of coaches in this country are abusers, so it would be in these coaches' collective best interest to be at the forefront of policing their own ranks, and help weed out the bad elements. Of all groups in a position to witness/be aware of abusive behavior, it would be fellow coaches. Yet it is rare that one speaks out against another, although Safesport's creation may have made it easier to privately report bad behavior, as a witness.

Coaches should also be willing to report another coach's student, if that student (whether a minor or adult) is exhibiting serious issues such as violence or sexual harassment. Though I suspect this happens less often than it should.
 

Willin

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@Willin and everyone, please don't confuse Michigan State (green/white, Spartans, Nassar) with Michigan (maize / blue, Wolverines, scandal with long deceased football Dr. Anderson that did not get much attention).

And I thought should point out that Simone Biles' boyfriend plays with DeShaun Watson on the Houston Texans. Watson is currently suspended as he has been sued by 24 massage therapists for sexual harassment / sexual assault. Given how outspoken she has been about Nasser / USAG, it is strange that she wasn't asked about this situation. Now, she may have never even met DeShaun. She probably really doesn't have anything to add to this. But reporters being reporters, it's surprising no one has asked her about this at a press conference. I wonder if they have been told this topic is off limits behind the scenes.
I'm an alum of one of those two schools so no, I wouldn't dare mix them up. I was referring to the Anderson scandal in that case - which Harbaugh had a strange answer about.

I’m curious as to how you think people are “infantalizing” Alexa in this thread? Because I frankly don’t think most people are, nor do I think her situation is at all comparable to those you mention above.

Professional athletes, top athletes at major schools, and star athletes like Simone Biles, are generally used to taking extensive questions at post game press conferences and in many cases, to being regularly interviewed. Many are either making huge salaries (meaning they can afford guidance from top level lawyers and PR firms) or they have access to resources because they play for powerful, well-funded schools/organizations. That’s quite different to the experience of USFS athletes, most of whom have pretty limited experience answering press conference / media zone questions, which are generally limited to their performance, training, injuries, and so forth.

Beyond that, I don’t think being criticized for your anti-vax stance or even being asked about abuse you may have witnessed or personally experienced - however painful - is quite the same as Brennan aggressively playing a game of “gotcha” with Alexa in order to get a juicy quote from her. The reason lawyers spend so much time preparing their clients to testify in adversarial situations - which this clearly was - is because answering tough/tricky questions under pressure is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to most people. That’s true no matter how easily you can anticipate the question. In this case, though, I’m not even sure how much the particular questions she was asked here - or the adversarial tone Brennan took - could have reasonably been anticipated.
This is the exact kind of infantilization I'm talking about: Oh, poor Alexa being in a sport with less money for media training. Poor Alexa for not having the same resources as others. Poor Alexa, being targeted by the cruel reporter asking an inappropriate question. My point is why not? Athletes in other sports are asked tough questions, criticized to their faces, and much worse (in the case of Biles) regardless of their wealth or resources.

Is it right? That can be debated. But is it right to say that skaters only deserve softball questions just because their sport has less resources or their governing body is incompetent? No.

I think it’s a bit funny people use Simone Biles being asked constantly about Nassar in Tokyo as if it may not had any affect on her considering how Tokyo went for her, and how she stated her trauma with the whole Nassar situation contributed to it all exploding during Tokyo. And one thing I learned about the way sports media is constantly adversarial with athletes is that although athletes are seasoned to take it, many of them are heavily affected emotionally and psychologically by constant attacks by the media and have begun speaking up against it. I also noticed sports media gain ratings and viewers by appealing to base aggressive caveman like arguing. I wouldn’t think it’s type of investigative journalism to model oneself after as I rarely find a sports reporter to respect.
I'm not saying it's right - and I feel it was very wrong in her case. I'm just saying that what Brennan asked is hardly invasive or out of line compared to what other athletes can expect.
 

MsZem

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It is just interesting how many posters are jumping to Alexa’s defence and how many vilified Vanessa James. I’m assuming no one on this board are huge confidants of either woman and really knows what either one knew or didn’t know.
Here are things I wrote about each of them:
Cipres sent dick pics to a child. Why is the discussion about the extent to which a woman should be held accountable for his wrongdoing?

Vanessa James wasn't in a position of authority, as far as we know she didn't abuse anyone, and she was put in a very bad position by people she should have been able to trust. I don't envy her.

Personally I think a lot of people online are frustrated that Cipres got away with the sexual abuse of a child, and the coaching team hasn't paid much of a price for covering it up, and they're taking it out on Vanessa - who's more easily accessible, though vastly less responsible.

I'm very uncomfortable with judging Alexa Knierim's reaction to Brennan's questions, for reasons given by others already (she may have been a victim herself, and even if not, this is a lot to process). The responsibility for what happened lies with Sappenfield, and even if Alexa is more readily available, there's no indication that she played a role in the abuse or supported Sappenfield's behavior in any way. It's okay for her to say that she supports the victim while noting that her own experience was different - which explains to some extent why she may not have been fully aware of what happened to Tarah.

These posts got a lot of likes, which I take as an indication of agreement.

It's striking how much discussion there has been about both Alexa Knierim and Vanessa James in relation to the wrongdoing of others. Maybe it's because what Cipres and Sappenfield reportedly did is so clearly despicable, while Alexa's and Vanessa's role (if there even was one) is more ambiguous.
 

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