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George Morris on the SS list

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  • At this point I think the most disappointing part is see all these names of people I previously had a lot of respect for, continue to lambast safe sport and “stand with George,” shaming and blaming victims in the process. Dianna Babington, Bernie Traurig, Candice King, Eric Lamaze, Robert Dover, and many other trainers more local to me, to name a few.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by TooManyBays View Post
      Ok, someone probably already asked and answered this in the previous 176 pages, but they are punishing members who attend his clinics??
      What are people who have signed up to clinic with him in the future supposed to do?
      What is the point of stopping grown adults from making a decision for themselves as to if they want to clinic with him?
      So. That is our next phase, yes. Will GM decide to create a giant train wreck by continuing with clinics?

      For the record, he's not the first Very Big Name elite coach to get a lifetime suspension, just the first in our sport. Also, this is different from the USEF horse killing suspensions and others, because the SafeSport Act has a little more legal teeth.

      Each of the sports plays out a little differently. In figure skating, for example, it's trivially easy for the USFSA to make it clear that any skater who works with Richard Callaghan won't be selected for the US team. You could see that happening easily for USET slots as well. The difference is that the way we do clinics mean that there are a lot of riders who might like to clinic with GM who know they are not in danger of Team selection any time soon. So we'll need a wider net.

      In addition, in many other sports, any facility has to be a member of the NGB. That's not true for us, aside from ones that hold competitions.

      The Prohibited Conduct here is in the SafeSport code under "Aiding and Abetting." It's on page 15 of this document:

      https://uscenterforsafesport.org/wp-...yperlinked.pdf
      2. Allowing any person who has been identified as suspended or otherwise ineligible by the Center to coach or instruct Participants;
      This is basically about - it's not okay to allow someone found to abuse athletes to continue to work with athletes.

      If you were reading this about a coach in any other sport, you'd nod, of course, that guy who groped his swimmers shouldn't be allowed to teach any more. Of course that doctor who sexually abused girls who came for treatment shouldn't see patients any more.

      SafeSport does have some tools in its drawer. I expect they're already thinking about how they will be used.

      One of the things we see happen in these cases is that ... when they linger, when the perpetrator tries to bluster their way through, or when the peanut gallery tries to make them a martyr... sometimes additional victims decide to come forward at that time. This was true for Rob Gage's case and it was true for the figure skater John Coughlin.

      Equestrian sport has many outstanding professionals that are capable of coaching elite athletes to national and international levels. If you read GM's own book, you'll know that he's considered himself above the rules for much of his career. He's part of the history of our sport and he has taught many really excellent students who have taken the best of what he taught and synthesized it into new directions. He's the history of the sport, but he's no longer our future.
      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

      Comment


      • Originally posted by 3PB View Post
        At this point I think the most disappointing part is see all these names of people I previously had a lot of respect for, continue to lambast safe sport and “stand with George,” shaming and blaming victims in the process. Dianna Babington, Bernie Traurig, Candice King, Eric Lamaze, Robert Dover, and many other trainers more local to me, to name a few.
        Is Dianna Babington really voicing public support towards George Morris following this permanent decision? In my opinion, it's crucially important to know if this is true based on the fact that she is continually asking for monetary donations in Kevin's name since his horrific fall. If true, potential donors should be aware of this before they make a decision to donate, and if this is not true, the real facts should be made known so that donations are not withheld because of false information.

        Comment


        • poltroon - well said.

          I think the farm’s hosting the clinics, and the actual folks organizing them are where the weight of the aiding and abetting penalty is likely to fall. And that seems appropriate.

          Additionally... I believe it was mentioned WAAAY earlier in this thread, or in another one... but there is a liability/insurance challenge that is likely to make itself known if folks continue to choose to host GM clinics.

          Yes... there are many examples of known bad actors who have successfully continued on in the sport, despite their reputations and bans. But this is such a high profile situation and personality...
          Last edited by Virginia Horse Mom; Nov. 20, 2019, 02:38 AM. Reason: clarity

          Comment


          • Originally posted by poltroon View Post

            So. That is our next phase, yes. Will GM decide to create a giant train wreck by continuing with clinics?

            For the record, he's not the first Very Big Name elite coach to get a lifetime suspension, just the first in our sport. Also, this is different from the USEF horse killing suspensions and others, because the SafeSport Act has a little more legal teeth.

            Each of the sports plays out a little differently. In figure skating, for example, it's trivially easy for the USFSA to make it clear that any skater who works with Richard Callaghan won't be selected for the US team. You could see that happening easily for USET slots as well. The difference is that the way we do clinics mean that there are a lot of riders who might like to clinic with GM who know they are not in danger of Team selection any time soon. So we'll need a wider net.

            In addition, in many other sports, any facility has to be a member of the NGB. That's not true for us, aside from ones that hold competitions.

            The Prohibited Conduct here is in the SafeSport code under "Aiding and Abetting." It's on page 15 of this document:

            https://uscenterforsafesport.org/wp-...yperlinked.pdf


            This is basically about - it's not okay to allow someone found to abuse athletes to continue to work with athletes.

            If you were reading this about a coach in any other sport, you'd nod, of course, that guy who groped his swimmers shouldn't be allowed to teach any more. Of course that doctor who sexually abused girls who came for treatment shouldn't see patients any more.

            SafeSport does have some tools in its drawer. I expect they're already thinking about how they will be used.

            One of the things we see happen in these cases is that ... when they linger, when the perpetrator tries to bluster their way through, or when the peanut gallery tries to make them a martyr... sometimes additional victims decide to come forward at that time. This was true for Rob Gage's case and it was true for the figure skater John Coughlin.

            Equestrian sport has many outstanding professionals that are capable of coaching elite athletes to national and international levels. If you read GM's own book, you'll know that he's considered himself above the rules for much of his career. He's part of the history of our sport and he has taught many really excellent students who have taken the best of what he taught and synthesized it into new directions. He's the history of the sport, but he's no longer our future.
            Thank you for this response. As of now he still has clinics scheduled in the upcoming months, and I dont see any word of them being canceled so I guess he is just going to see how far SS and USEF actually can go to stop him.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by fair judy View Post
              I’m going to say something I am pretty certain will not be well received here. I rode with and know George fairly well. I will always hold the things I learned, the discipline, the expectation of excellence as part of the horsewomen I became. Nothing in Relentless came as a surprise. I have a beloved and tattered first edition of his first book...owned and inscribed by him to my mentor and only two years ago reinscribed to me. I’m not going to take that book off my shelf. His influence on my life wasn’t a negative . There is nothing that can mend the horrible wrong he wrought.... I condemn it. I will not condemn every good thing I learned from George. I say this knowing that I’ll catch hell from some.
              Judy your post is something I've thought about a lot recently. I live in MA, and it feels like practically every week someone proposes to change the name of something in Boston because we've found out that the person who's name is currently on the thing (Yawkey Way, for example but there have been many others) owned slaves at one point in time. Are we going to rename every Boston landmark and tear down every statue of people that owned slaves? Without going into historical detail, there was a time where the norm was to own slaves. I can see some of the same parallel here- George Morris certainly did have a significant impact on equestrian sport, but obviously he had a major flaw. I thought about throwing out Hunter Seat Equitation, but then decided it's the only book on equitation I've really been able to READ, so I'm keeping it. I can still think the man is not a good human being while recognizing that he had a valuable contribution. (For the record, I'm not sure how much of his conduct was the "norm" of the 60's/70's since that information hasn't been released.)

              P.S. You can't sell a horse on facebook but you can join a group supporting an alleged child molester?

              Comment


              • Originally posted by fair judy View Post
                I’m going to say something I am pretty certain will not be well received here. I rode with and know George fairly well. I will always hold the things I learned, the discipline, the expectation of excellence as part of the horsewomen I became. Nothing in Relentless came as a surprise. I have a beloved and tattered first edition of his first book...owned and inscribed by him to my mentor and only two years ago reinscribed to me. I’m not going to take that book off my shelf. His influence on my life wasn’t a negative . There is nothing that can mend the horrible wrong he wrought.... I condemn it. I will not condemn every good thing I learned from George. I say this knowing that I’ll catch hell from some.
                No condemnation from me. I think you’ve summed up the conundrum quite well - his contributions to the sport will never disappear, nor should they. But people do have to accept that he has flaws and is now being held responsible for them.

                Comment


                • I thought Eric Lamaze recanted his support?
                  Boss Mare Eventing Blog

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Tackpud View Post

                    No condemnation from me. I think you’ve summed up the conundrum quite well - his contributions to the sport will never disappear, nor should they. But people do have to accept that he has flaws and is now being held responsible for them.
                    I’m appalled at the ignorance of so many..... so much so that I have to perceive those blanket defenses as individuals who are themselves compromised. Comments such as “ It was a different time....” are True. It was a crazy time, not only in the industry but nationally. I was a minor observer at the epicenter of of the first half of Relentless. I’m here to say that it was NEVER okay to “ discover your sexuality “ as a 30 year old with a Child. With a child who was also already infected with the hero cult.

                    Comment


                    • Well, exactly Tackpud. I have all his books, although I did get rid of Unrelenting. He has been a huge influence on our sport and on me personally as far as my riding goes. That's not going to disappear; his teaching method shouldn't be thrown out, any more than we should toss the Declaration of Independence because the founding fathers owned slaves. But I see no problem owning up to to the fact that GM shouldn't be allowed access to the sport any more, because of his past actions.

                      however, I do wonder if the same action would have been taken if the decision had been harder - if GM had 30 more years of potential Olympic team coaching ahead of him, say. I hope my response would be the same. I have not attended one of his clinics for years, because of my knowledge of what he had done, but would I have the guts to do that if I had a potential Olympic slot or Big Eq championship in my future and knew he could help me get there? I don't honestly know.

                      This was a tough person for SS to go after, but in a way, it was easier. Jimmy Williams' actions were safely in the past. Even though GM is a towering person in the sport, his influence is also mostly in the past. What happens when SS has to ban someone currently at the top of the sport for their actions? This is hard enough. We'll see what they do about his current actions. That's where the real test of nerve comes in.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by TooManyBays View Post
                        Ok, someone probably already asked and answered this in the previous 176 pages, but they are punishing members who attend his clinics??
                        What are people who have signed up to clinic with him in the future supposed to do?
                        What is the point of stopping grown adults from making a decision for themselves as to if they want to clinic with him?
                        Are you assuming that Only “ grown” adults will participate?

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by fair judy View Post

                          I’m appalled at the ignorance of so many..... so much so that I have to perceive those blanket defenses as individuals who are themselves compromised. Comments such as “ It was a different time....” are True. It was a crazy time, not only in the industry but nationally. I was a minor observer at the epicenter of of the first half of Relentless. I’m here to say that it was NEVER okay to “ discover your sexuality “ as a 30 year old with a Child. With a child who was also already infected with the hero cult.
                          Thanks for both your last two posts on this topic Judy. You are a reasonable voice in the midst of a truly incomprehensible outcry from much of the HJ community.

                          I’m sorry for you, and others, who knew/know him personally... I can only imagine that this all incredibly sad on many levels. But I do not understand the folks who have decided to go in the direction of making excuses for abusive behavior, and who have decided to launch a series of attacks on this victim. It’s horrible to watch.

                          Thanks for being someone who is capable of processing a tragic situation in a respectful caring way. I hope others get a clue, and take note.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by RND View Post

                            Is Dianna Babington really voicing public support towards George Morris following this permanent decision? In my opinion, it's crucially important to know if this is true based on the fact that she is continually asking for monetary donations in Kevin's name since his horrific fall. If true, potential donors should be aware of this before they make a decision to donate, and if this is not true, the real facts should be made known so that donations are not withheld because of false information.
                            It was a comment on another person’s Facebook post. I just went back to check and the privacy settings on the post is “friends only” so I’m not sure it would be proper to screen shot and post it on here. But to paraphrase she called safe sport a “disgrace” and that “any one of us could be next” and there is a “perfectly good legal system...but you need facts and evidence” for these types of allegations.

                            Comment


                            • There is a long, long list of people that I would criticize for supporting GM before I got around to Dianna Babington. With everything else that's going on in her life right now, perhaps we can give her a pass for just reacting and not thinking this through clearly?

                              Please tell me that no one seriously was considering donating to Kevin's medical care and will make the decision not to because Dianna expressed support of George. Please tell me that's not true.

                              Sure, boycott horse professionals that support George as a way to make a statement - don't take lessons, send horses for training, hire them to judge, buy their books or other products - that makes sense.

                              But withholding a charitable donation to an admired horseman who desperately needs it because their spouse supports George? I'm not sure what point that is supposed to make.
                              The plural of anecdote is not data.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by 3PB View Post

                                It was a comment on another person’s Facebook post. I just went back to check and the privacy settings on the post is “friends only” so I’m not sure it would be proper to screen shot and post it on here. But to paraphrase she called safe sport a “disgrace” and that “any one of us could be next” and there is a “perfectly good legal system...but you need facts and evidence” for these types of allegations.
                                After Dianna Babington posted her manifesto in a competitor magazine with her disgusting attitude regarding grooms I wrote her off. Not at all
                                surprised to
                                hear she is in ISWG.

                                Comment


                                • Not all people who suffer tragedy are good people right. what was said about the grooms?
                                  Boss Mare Eventing Blog

                                  Comment


                                  • Dianna's article -

                                    https://www.theplaidhorse.com/2018/0...orse-industry/

                                    Donate to Kevin, or don't donate to Kevin. But don't pretend that the reason you're not donating is this article or Dianna's support of George.
                                    The plural of anecdote is not data.

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post
                                      Not all people who suffer tragedy are good people right. what was said about the grooms?
                                      I don’t want to link to a competitor publication. Her article was almost universally pushed back against on Facebook where the article and comments are still extant. The publication is Plaid Horse.

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by fair judy View Post

                                        After Dianna Babington posted her manifesto in a competitor magazine with her disgusting attitude regarding grooms I wrote her off. Not at all
                                        surprised to
                                        hear she is in ISWG.
                                        She does come off pretty damned poorly there--and in her own words.
                                        Speaking as someone who was a groom in a former lifetime, she couldn't pay me enough to work for her.
                                        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                        ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                                        Comment


                                        • Wow. All the grooms fault eh lol
                                          Boss Mare Eventing Blog

                                          Comment

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