John Tait the former Canadian women’s rugby sevens head coach has been under a microscope the past few months, and with the independent investigation review out, he says he supports the release of the results of his former and current players complaints.
“I am unable to speak to any of the details of the claims and the unequivocal findings of the independent investigator,” Tait said in a statement. “However, should RC (Rugby Canada) wish to release it all publicly, I would fully support them in doing so.
“I know that if the full truth came out, people will see that I have done nothing to warrant my behavior being described as abusive in any way. It is shameful and beyond misleading for these athletes to be portraying themselves as victims in regards to how I or the program treated them.”
Rugby Canada said at the time:
“The investigator noted the conduct described in the complaint reflected the experiences of the 37 NSW7s (national senior women’s sevens) athletes. However, the investigator determined that the conduct referenced was not behavior which fell within the policy’s definition of harassment or bullying,”
Tait has said from the get-go that the complaints are unfounded and did not breach Rugby Canada policies. But he quit his job, saying “I no longer desire to continue as the national team head coach or in the role of high-performance director.”
Rugby Canada says its 2013 harassment and bullying policy, under which the players’ complaint was filed, “does not allow for the report or the complaints to be made public.”
“This is normal and common practice for organizations to maintain confidentiality throughout the entire complaints process. This commitment to confidentiality recognizes how difficult it is to come forward with a complaint of this nature while balancing the interests of both the complainant(s) and the respondent(s). This was understood by all parties in advance.”
The governing body approved the change in march “updated safe sport policy manual.”
Under the new policy, “all items related to the complaint must remain confidential until the process is complete and a decision has been made.”
“In keeping with current practices, the policy states that decisions that result in sanctions may be shared in some instances,” Rugby Canada said. “Publicly disclosing an investigative report would not be considered without the consent of all parties, as Rugby Canada continues to recognize the difficulties of coming forward in matters of this nature.”
The women’s sevens team, made their formal complaint this January.
Sevens captain Ghislaine Landry, said about the complaint”explained the psychological abuse, harassment and/or bullying these athletes feel they were subjected to in the centralized training environment.”
“The national team athletes have shown true courage in coming forward to shine a light on what they have experienced in an effort to bring about meaningful change to their sport,” the statement said.
“We followed the procedures outlined in Rugby Canada’s policy, which was put in place in 2013. We feel that this process failed to protect us and did not acknowledge the abuse and harassment that we believe we suffered.”