October 8, 2019

Sports As A Vehicle For Positive Change

As we approach the end of 2018, we are left to reflect on the year that was and the extent to which sport continues to make positive contributions in the lives of Jamaicans. As I reflect on the many successes, I also think about the missed opportunities. However, I feel confident that we will continue to see sport as a vehicle for positive change in our society.

As we move into 2019, there are some challenges that need to be examined to see how best we can become a model for the rest of the world. Sport doesn’t just happen on the field of play but can also be a crucial tool in addressing social issues such as discrimination (gender, race, class, age), gender-based violence, sexual abuse, child abuse, and corruption.

This year, many of these issues arose in sport globally. There was the imprisonment of USA Gymnastics’ national team doctor, Larry Nassar, for sexual assault. In Jamaica, a physical-education teacher allegedly used a PVC pipe to physically abuse a student athlete. I am happy to hear that the Office of the Children’s Advocate is now involved in this matter. Local sporting organisations need to implement policies aimed at protecting minors in sports. I know there are general laws to safeguard minors, but there are still serious challenges in creating safe spaces for our children who want to participate in sport.

It’s time for all associations to implement specific child/minor policies and ensure that all officials involved with children submit some form of ‘fit and proper’ documentation and/or police certificates of character. Internationally, we saw the Safeguarding Children in Sport Initiative’ that implemented the Be a Champion for Children campaign in November. Coaches, parents, teachers and sports organisations are encouraged to implement the International Safeguards for Children into their programmes – something we could examine and adopt.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top