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George Morris on the SS list

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  • Originally posted by IPEsq View Post
    I disagree that there's a viable Sherman Act claim, especially for equestrian sports.

    The law review article referenced operates on this premise: that "the Center will be empowered by all forty-seven NGBs with the power to expel and permanently ban coaches from their respective sport, and effectively restrain them from earning a living in their profession."

    I could go to horse shows without being Safe Sport certified and without being a USEF member by paying the show pass fee. People like Bernie T also will continue to operate a good business after he has relinquished his USEF memberships. So, really, is there a "restraint of trade" that raises Sherman Act concerns? For those who have no clue what the Sherman Act is, it is our antitrust law in the USA.

    Sports issues have raised Sherman Act concerns before (usually for monopoly-like behaviors), but I don't think anyone is going to be able to show that SS is anticompetitive.

    The real risk to SS under any legal theory (including antitrust) is if their procedures result in actions that are arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory. It appears that the procedures as codified are sufficient to withstand this challenge. I get that there appear to be a lot of people out there that think that SS does not actually follow their own procedures, but I haven't seen any evidence of that being true.
    Now I'm chuckling a little... someone on this board has a tagline something like, "The Horse World: 2 people, 3 opinions." I may not have it exactly right but I always smile when I see it. It could definitely be modified to apply to lawyers. We don't always know the outcome but there's usually no shortage of ideas!

    Thanks to Fordtraktor and IPEsq for interesting contributions--you both have thought this through better than I have. I think the Sherman Act argument is clever, but I'm not convinced it's the only possible approach. --And none of that is meant as a prediction that any legal challenge will ultimately be successful. I think a court will be quite motivated to uphold Safesport, unless somehow a plaintiff far more sympathetic than GM comes along.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Horsegirl's Mom View Post

      Now I'm chuckling a little... someone on this board has a tagline something like, "The Horse World: 2 people, 3 opinions." I may not have it exactly right but I always smile when I see it. It could definitely be modified to apply to lawyers. We don't always know the outcome but there's usually no shortage of ideas!

      Thanks to Fordtraktor and IPEsq for interesting contributions--you both have thought this through better than I have. I think the Sherman Act argument is clever, but I'm not convinced it's the only possible approach. --And none of that is meant as a prediction that any legal challenge will ultimately be successful. I think a court will be quite motivated to uphold Safesport, unless somehow a plaintiff far more sympathetic than GM comes along.
      There certainly would be a lot fewer jobs for lawyers if nothing was open to interpretation.

      Comment


      • I am Michael Hart’s brother and have been expecting this day to come since I first read MidgeToo’s post on May 16, 2009 over on The Manure Pile. It was a post of a PM sent to MidgeToo by someone going by the name ‘abcdefghi’ that mentioned Michael as one of GM’s victims. It was long post I won’t share unless people want to read what I am referring to. In 2013 I made an angry reply as I just wanted my brother left out of the conversation. As everyone knows, he passed away in 1995 so I saw no reason to bring him into this 34 years after his time at Hunterdon and 14 years after his passing.

        This is is what bothers me most. Everyone knew about GM back then yet no one said or did anything about it. Now an 81 year old man is having his life’s work and legacy eradicated in some “Me Too” moment and, in the case of my family, getting calls from the New York Times and others asking us questions about our dead brother and his relationship with an accused pedophile.

        SafeSport exists to prevent future abuse and misconduct, which I fully support, but I don’t know the case against GM furthers their mission. From my chair I see it ruining reputations, opening old wounds of families and victims, dividing the community, and harming the sport.

        There is much more I could add but I’ve said enough. For the readers who knew my brother, you know

        Comment


        • Jonathan Hart, I’m so terribly sorry for your loss, and for everything you and your family have gone through, both then and now. My condolences to all of you.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Jonathan Hart View Post
            I am Michael Hart’s brother and have been expecting this day to come since I first read MidgeToo’s post on May 16, 2009 over on The Manure Pile. It was a post of a PM sent to MidgeToo by someone going by the name ‘abcdefghi’ that mentioned Michael as one of GM’s victims. It was long post I won’t share unless people want to read what I am referring to. In 2013 I made an angry reply as I just wanted my brother left out of the conversation. As everyone knows, he passed away in 1995 so I saw no reason to bring him into this 34 years after his time at Hunterdon and 14 years after his passing.

            This is is what bothers me most. Everyone knew about GM back then yet no one said or did anything about it. Now an 81 year old man is having his life’s work and legacy eradicated in some “Me Too” moment and, in the case of my family, getting calls from the New York Times and others asking us questions about our dead brother and his relationship with an accused pedophile.

            SafeSport exists to prevent future abuse and misconduct, which I fully support, but I don’t know the case against GM furthers their mission. From my chair I see it ruining reputations, opening old wounds of families and victims, dividing the community, and harming the sport.

            There is much more I could add but I’ve said enough. For the readers who knew my brother, you know
            Thank you Jonathan, for your poignant post about your brother. I too agree as to what you have stated.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Silk View Post
              I am not sure I understand the banning people who attend his clinics. People lesson with PV and are not banned, even if he is. Can someone explain that to me?
              Under a USEF ban a la Valliere and others, there are some kinda inklings of "can't do business with" that have largely been ignored.

              SafeSport, though, has its own additional rules and theirs may have sharper teeth on this matter. In particular, I think you'd be in jeopardy if you were a person who was hiring him to work with athletes who could be vulnerable, especially minors. I think it's less likely they'd go after athletes, especially right now with their hands pretty full.

              Because SafeSport is in a little different position than just a USEF ban, and because specifically those bans are meant to protect athletes from abusive conduct, I think as a practical matter it might become very difficult to get insurance for such a clinic, regardless of whether USEF or SafeSport cares to aggressively enforce.

              Other sports may already have seen this particular scenario; I don't know.
              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 Jonathan Hart View Post

                SafeSport exists to prevent future abuse and misconduct, which I fully support, but I don’t know the case against GM furthers their mission. From my chair I see it ruining reputations, opening old wounds of families and victims, dividing the community, and harming the sport.
                First of all I am SO sorry that your family is suffering. No one should have to go through that.
                However, I can see how the SS case against GM could be exactly what they need to further their mission. Are his actions ok just because they happened several decades ago? If anyone thinks that abusers stop molesting and raping just because they are JUST because they have gotten older, then they’re deluded. Abusers don’t stop, they just get better at covering their tracks. GM has been incredibly powerful in this sport for a long time, and SS did exactly what they needed to in order to protect young equestrians. The procedural problems with SS are a separate issue that needs to be addressed, but I don’t think GM is a good poster child for those who want to challenge SS.
                "Sometimes the fear won't go away... so you just have to do it afraid."

                Trolls be trollin'! -DH

                Comment


                • I am sorry for the victims and their families. People who have been through this deserve privacy if they want it, and not salcious tittle tattle into their lives.


                  This case shines the light of day on the putrefication that is the hunter/jumper world. I think that is why people are rushing to ISWG, no matter what rationale they give-- they are in deep denial about the putrified world of hunter/jumper showing. And the role they played in, for whatever reason, even if it was only to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to such goings ons.

                  And no wonder people are howling about Safe Sport. It dismantles the corrupt kingdom, with all the discomfort and agony that brings to those who bought into and are complicit in its running. Silence is being complicit.

                  The louder the howls, the more I wonder how much more there is to uncover.

                  Redemption would lie in a positive restructuring from the bottom up, of removing the taint of power and money and corruption. But somehow I doubt that will happen, for the corruption is too deeply rooted and the power with money has a stranglehold in a sport that is no more than pay to play at some levels.

                  But the people running around with their fingers stuffed in their ears, their eyes tight shut, screaming to bring down Safe Sport and ISWG-- oh, if a fraction of that had been put into preventing and addressing sexual abuse, molestation, and corruption-- then the sport would not be in the terrible state it is in today. And many lives might not have been unalterably damaged.

                  A canter is a cure for every evil. ~Benjamin Disraeli

                  Comment


                  • Jonathan, I'm so very sorry for the pain and stress that all this has caused you and your family, and for the loss of your brother.

                    I think if there's any hope in all this, it's that as people get with the program and are held to consequences, it will save other young people and families from ever having to go through this.
                    "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                    My CANTER blog.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by skydy View Post
                      With just an easy bit of internet research, the home in Florida in which it appears he lives, in is not indicative of "wealth" even for a winter season home.

                      The ban will hurt financially but I'm sure all of the people who "stand with George" will put their money where their mouths are.
                      Most people budget so that they can be retired by 81. I don't think Morris has ever been poor. He'll be OK financially, I would think.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by fair judy View Post

                        I enjoy your posts, but the issue of "just pay the thirty days and leave now." is problematic for me. Holding the BO to the contractual obliation can and has resulted in feed cut, hay denied, Tack stolen Padded last month bills, restricted turn out and lack of stall care...... not to mention taking it out on the horse. Nope. Leave, because if it is that bad it is also likely ( and in my personal experience) to be bad for my horse. In one case a perfectly sane mount became radically head shy. There is no learning for the BO and the horse suffers.
                        And then you litigate that... in small claims court. If you were me, however, you would not let it come to that. Rather, you would show up at that barn as often as it took to make sure the contract was followed....before damage was done and then repaired via some belated legal remedy.

                        Look, if this is not your particular hill to die on, don't go there. But disregarding the terms of a signed contract is one of the many things that should not become the norm in this industry. I don't think anyone should be making an argument to others that the best thing is to remove your horse and *allow disgruntled BOs to know that they can violate the terms of their own damn contracts*! It's just a bad precedent to set for this already unregulated business.

                        It should not be true that a barn owner would screw over an animal because they are angry at a person. It should not fall to those who are paying for board to make sure that the cotton pickin' contract *devised by the BO* is followed. (I mean, if the BO wrote it, she had every opportunity to make sure her interests were represented.)

                        But! The buck stops with the person who pays, it would appear. And so all of us paying into this industry end up having to "ride herd" on its worst actors. Sucks, but there it is: And so it falls to each of us to do that sometimes heavy lifting to make sure this is a business we want to be in.

                        And I will say, too, I tend not to find or attract BOs who think screwing over a horse because of an anger issue is an option. So I really haven't walked a mile in the shoes of someone who finds themselves in this kind of exploitative or uneven business relationship.
                        The armchair saddler
                        Politically Pro-Cat

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Silk View Post
                          I am not sure I understand the banning people who attend his clinics. People lesson with PV and are not banned, even if he is. Can someone explain that to me?
                          PV's violation did not fall under the SafeSport code, so it doesn't follow the same guidelines.

                          You could be sanctioned for Aiding and Abetting for riding or clinicing with GM, since they clearly outline this in their policy. However, I highly doubt that the sanction they would hand down for that would be a ban, something they have reserved for only the most egregious offences. So far the only things people have gotten banned for is sexual misconduct and sexual misconduct with a minor. There are many different levels of sanctions.

                          Sanctions:

                          A. Possible sanctions One or more of the following sanctions may be recommended or imposed singularly or in combination: (a) written warning; (b) educational or behavioral programs; (c) loss of privileges; (d) probation; (e) suspension or other eligibility restrictions, up to and including permanent ineligibility. The Office reserves the right to lessen or broaden any range of recommended sanctions in the case of mitigating circumstances or egregiously offensive behavior.

                          Aiding and Abetting:

                          E. AIDING AND ABETTING Aiding and Abetting is any act taken with the purpose of facilitating, promoting, or encouraging the commission of Prohibited Conduct by a Participant. Aiding and Abetting also includes, without limitation, knowingly: 1. Allowing any person who has been identified as suspended or otherwise ineligible by the Center to be in any way associated with or employed by an organization affiliated with or holding itself out as affiliated with an NGB, LAO, the USOC or the Olympic Movement; 2. Allowing any person who has been identified as suspended or otherwise ineligible by the Center to coach or instruct Participants; 3. Allowing any person who has been identified as ineligible by the Center to have ownership interest in a facility, an organization, or its related entities, if that facility/organization/related entity is affiliated with or holds itself out as affiliated with an NGB, LAO, USOC or the Olympic Movement; 4. Providing any coaching-related advice or service to an Athlete who has been identified as suspended or otherwise ineligible by the Center; 5. Allowing any person to violate the terms of their suspension or any other sanctions imposed by the Center; 6. In addition, a Participant also violates this Policy if someone acts on behalf of the Participant to engage in Aiding or Abetting, or if the guardian, family member, or advisor of a Participant, including Minor Participants, engages in Aiding or Abetting.
                          http://the900facebookpony.com/

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by mvp View Post

                            Most people budget so that they can be retired by 81. I don't think Morris has ever been poor. He'll be OK financially, I would think.
                            The Morris name comes from money. His relative Billy Morris in Augusta, GA. (George Morris references his family roots in Augusta in his book) is/was somewhat of a media tycoon.

                            Billy Morris owns The Equine Journal, Western Horseman, Quarter Horse News, Barrel Horse News, National Barrel Horse Association, Western Retailer among many others.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by IPEsq View Post
                              I disagree that there's a viable Sherman Act claim, especially for equestrian sports.

                              The law review article referenced operates on this premise: that "the Center will be empowered by all forty-seven NGBs with the power to expel and permanently ban coaches from their respective sport, and effectively restrain them from earning a living in their profession."

                              I could go to horse shows without being Safe Sport certified and without being a USEF member by paying the show pass fee. People like Bernie T also will continue to operate a good business after he has relinquished his USEF memberships. So, really, is there a "restraint of trade" that raises Sherman Act concerns? For those who have no clue what the Sherman Act is, it is our antitrust law in the USA.

                              Sports issues have raised Sherman Act concerns before (usually for monopoly-like behaviors), but I don't think anyone is going to be able to show that SS is anticompetitive.

                              The real risk to SS under any legal theory (including antitrust) is if their procedures result in actions that are arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory. It appears that the procedures as codified are sufficient to withstand this challenge. I get that there appear to be a lot of people out there that think that SS does not actually follow their own procedures, but I haven't seen any evidence of that being true.
                              I disagree that SS can not possibly meet the market tests. USEF has said this week that anyone who facilitates a clinic by a SS banned person is potentially in trouble for aiding and abetting and subject to disciplinary action by SS. Bernie T makes his living with clinics and his website, I believe.

                              As for the merits, who knows. But when these types of claims are brought this is a very common vehicle for doing it. There may be others but this one has been used to challenge many, many association decisions kicking people out and I would expect it may be used here too.

                              The Amateur Sports Act point made by another poster is a good one. FWIW USEF has been down this road before with a Sherman Act claim....that is what was used to challenge the mileage rule many years ago. I looked it up and in that case the court found the Amateur Sports Act gave USEF antitrust immunity with respect to the mileage rule because they were supposed to reduce scheduling conflicts under that law, as NGB. It is unclear how that would apply here. Like I said at first, the quasi-governmental nature of SS and, I suppose, USEF make this a very complicated case I wouldn’t want to make any predictions about the outcome on without extensive research I frankly don’t care to do without a retainer!

                              Comment


                              • I am very sorry for your family’s suffering Mr Hart. However those that have aided and abetted GM are not going to stop their salacious activity without being held accountable. MeToo is an extremely important era it enables victims to have a voice, some solidarity, while it’s still an extremely hostile environment for victims as displayed by all the victim bashing and blaming. If there are GM associates who are pedophiles, they need to be banned from the sport. In jail if possible. We have to create a culture where these things are not swept under the rug due to wealth and power, but brought to authorities so true Justice May be served, not just a ban from their sporting association. Which is better than nothing but not enough.

                                Most importantly, GM was a pedophile and still is. He should not be around children. I was unaware of this until now and would never send my children to a trainer who supports GM
                                or to a clinic etc taught by GM. We have a duty to protect our children and we cannot do this without these bans. If only he could land in jail.

                                Comment


                                • Jonathan Hart I am so, so sorry for what your family is going through. This must be very painful for you and your entire family. I totally understand your desire not to be involved or have this discussed and dissected on a national stage. Those feelings are valid and you deserve to be able to share your frustration, regardless of what GM may have done.

                                  Comment


                                  • fordtraktor while I see your argument I don’t think it’s going to fly. There are several banned for life trainers that still have a thriving business. Living proof that a ban by Safe Sport will not meet the three prong test of its sanctions violating the Sherman Act.

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by CatPS View Post

                                      First of all I am SO sorry that your family is suffering. No one should have to go through that.
                                      However, I can see how the SS case against GM could be exactly what they need to further their mission. Are his actions ok just because they happened several decades ago? If anyone thinks that abusers stop molesting and raping just because they are JUST because they have gotten older, then they’re deluded. Abusers don’t stop, they just get better at covering their tracks. GM has been incredibly powerful in this sport for a long time, and SS did exactly what they needed to in order to protect young equestrians. The procedural problems with SS are a separate issue that needs to be addressed, but I don’t think GM is a good poster child for those who want to challenge SS.
                                      This is my feeling as well. If this is true, what better place to put an end to the casting couch type of behavior in equestrian sports than at the top? I am sorry it causes you all pain by dredging up long buried memories but if it makes sure as well as we can make sure of anything that no one has to go through this again I would think your brother would think it was worth it. Godspeed.
                                      McDowell Racing Stables

                                      Home Away From Home

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post
                                        fordtraktor while I see your argument I don’t think it’s going to fly. There are several banned for life trainers that still have a thriving business. Living proof that a ban by Safe Sport will not meet the three prong test of its sanctions violating the Sherman Act.
                                        It is way too early for me to make that prediction. A good economist expert witness can make or break an antitrust case and I am sure they’ll hire two. One to work out the theory/effect on competition and another to be the testifying. That is how it is usually done (because the testifying’s work papers are discoverable).

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post

                                          It is way too early for me to make that prediction. A good economist expert witness can make or break an antitrust case and I am sure they’ll hire two. One to work out the theory/effect on competition and another to be the testifying. That is how it is usually done.
                                          So you said. Merely stating my opinion. I am aware the impact expert witnesses can have. I still think it will be a challenging spin.

                                          Comment

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