TAOS Issues Statement Regarding Chicago Blackhawks Investigation Report
Organizations must make safeguarding athletes a priority, and all athletes should be made better aware of their rights.
Following Jenner & Block’s release of the report titled “Report to the Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Team Regarding the Organization’s Response to Allegations of Sexual Misconduct by a Former Coach,” The Army of Survivors has issued the following statement:
The Army of Survivors would like to extend support to the survivors who were mentioned in the report, and the additional survivors who were impacted by the actions of the perpetrator. We are supportive of the Chicago Blackhawks transparency in making the report public, as we believe this is an important component in an honest independent investigation. However, we also would like to acknowledge the trauma associated with these findings becoming public, especially for the survivors who took part in the investigation. This kind of retraumatization can unfortunately be a reason, among many others, why some survivors chose not to disclose abuse in the first place. Ultimately, it is always a survivor’s choice whether or not they want to disclose abuse.
This report is another example of why sports institutions — including professional leagues — should have clearer policies in place when athletes report abuse. Organizations must make safeguarding athletes a priority, and all athletes should be made better aware of their rights.
We are in agreement with Blackhawks president of hockey operations Stan Bowman resigning from his position with the team, as well as his position with the 2022 U.S. Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team. Blackhawks senior director of hockey administration Al MacIsaac has also resigned.
In July, when a lawyer was urging the Blackhawks to conduct an independent investigation, The Army of Survivors urged the stepping aside of Bowman until the results of the investigation were reported. Although we believe this step should have taken place months ago, these recent actions re-emphasize the need for an organization to conduct independent investigations when reports of abuse are received.
Our organization remains committed to our mission to bring awareness, accountability, and transparency to sexual violence against athletes. As a survivor-founded and survivor-led group, The Army of Survivors is committed to creating a sports world without abuse.