Gabby Douglas’ Former Coach Disputes Her Racial Bullying Claims
Gabby Douglas recently opened up to Oprah Winfrey about being called a “slave” by a former teammate at the Excalibur Gymnatics in Virginia. She also told Oprah that she felt isolated and almost gave up on the sport.
Excalibur Gymnastics CEO Gustavo Maure spoke against Douglas’ claims by releasing a statement saying, “We’ve had more African Americans in elite and on the national team than any other gym in the country (5, 2 of them in Olympic Trials or Olympic Team Camp).
“Her African American former teammates will answer this serious accusation. (1st statement untruth, she was not the only African American gymnast training in the gym) We are good people. We never were knowingly involved in any type of bullying or racist treatment, like she is accusing Excalibur…
“I wish to defend the children that trained with her and supported her when she attacks them with these allegations.”
However, Maure obviously doesn’t understand how teen bullying works. Most kids aren’t bullied in a manner where it’s overt or can easily be recognized by adults who are more concerned with the kids’ performance. In this case, the output of each gymnast is the overall goal and concern for a person like Maure. He doesn’t care who gets bullied as long as the gymnasts performances are top notch.
Bullying happens with subtle gestures of intimidation. It occurs when the adults aren’t looking or paying attention. It happens with a sly remark, or exclusion from the group.
An ignorant man who has no idea what it means to be a black person in America should never accuse a 16-year-old black girl of lying about enduring racism. I’m sure Douglas never wanted to be excluded or called a “slave.” And even if she didn’t report it at the time, Douglas was strong enough to not allow the mistreatment to distract her from her overall goals.
Maure, and individuals like him, are the reason racism continues to exist in this country. Because he’s more concerned about protecting the reputation of his company than actually discovering how and why a black teen was racially bullied while under his guidance. –amir shaw