Abuse, doping reporting company announces deal with USADA

Abuse, doping reporting company announces deal with USADA
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The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will join forces with a company that provides a platform for athletes to report abuse, discrimination and doping cheats. 

The company, RealResponse, which was started by former college basketball player David Chadwick, said on Monday they would partner with USADA to provide a way for whistleblowers to report their concerns through a simple, real-time text, The Associated Press reported.

"We are thrilled to partner with the USADA and bring our RealResponse platform into the anti-doping world," Chadwick said in an email to The Hill. "RealResponse shares USADA’s commitment to athletes, and their right to clean sports. Our goal is to make reporting safe, secure, and easy, and the anonymous text messaging system certainly addresses many of the challenges in the reporting process."

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"The connection with RealResponse helps remove potential barriers for whistleblowers in communicating with our investigation team," USADA CEO Travis Tygart told the AP regarding the partnership.

USADA's partnership with RealResponse comes after outrage over star American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson's suspension after a positive marijuana test. The suspension voided Richardson’s performance at the U.S. track and field Olympic trials and therefore prohibited her from competing at the Tokyo Olympics.

Tygart described her suspension at the time as “heartbreaking” but added that the rules on marijuana use were “clear.”

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibits marijuana use during competitions. More than 150 nanograms per milliliter of THC, the psychoactive part of marijuana, will prompt a positive test result.

Just last month, World Anti-Doping Agency announced it would review the status of cannabis on its prohibited substances list. However, any changes would not take effect until after 2022 and cannabis will remain prohibited until then, at minimum.

In addition to simplifying the reporting system for abuse or doping-related concerns, RealResponse also provides a way for organizations to track and log their responses to each complaint, an issue that was spotlighted in recent Olympic sexual abuse cases.

In 2015, a report from the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General included information about allegations of disgraced doctor Larry Nassar and his abuse within USA Gymnastics. Despite this, senior officials from the FBI Indianapolis field office "failed to respond" to the accusations "with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required."

“Had anyone at the FBI done their job, then I would not be here speaking to you today,” Kaylee Lorincz, one of Nassar's former patients, said at a press conference following a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last month examining the FBI's response to allegations of abuse.

Lorincz added that “accountability will only occur when the FBI agents who did not do their job face criminal charges.” 

Other Nassar accusers included Olympians like Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney.  

The Hill has reached out to USADA and RealResponse for comment.