A college basketball player came up with the idea after witnessing a case of discrimination nearly destroying his team. He then wondered why no one had taken action sooner.
Ten years later, the player developed his idea into a crucial tool to fix a sport landscape that was rife with sexual abuse cases, racism, harassment and doping at every level.
David Chadwick is the player who has turned his idea into RealResponse. This company provides technology for customers, mainly universities athletic departments and other sporting organizations, to allow athletes and employees to send simple texts to make anonymous, real-time complaints.
RealResponse has announced that it will be working with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to provide a platform for whistleblowers who wish to raise concerns regarding doping cases.
RealResponse has already signed deals with USA Gymnastics and the NFL Players Association. This also shows the breadth of its company and the many problems and possibilities that exist through sport. The company is looking for partnerships with a number of club-sports and youth organizations in the United States.
” I wanted to solve an immediate problem – there are no secure, anonymous and real-time channels for athletes to voice concerns or give feedback to the administration.
This technology was created to make it as easy as possible for athletes who do almost all of their work on smartphones.
Athletes and employees can report workplace discrimination, doping violations or sex abuse with just a few words. The privacy options allow administrators to collect more information while keeping whistleblowers anonymous. It also skips many of the forms and drop down menus found in other reporting apps.
The NFLPA purchased the service initially to allow players to report any inconsistencies with COVID -19 protocols. The NFLPA has expanded its use of this service, according to a press release. “Anonymously and securely reporting any and all issues…for everything from training camps issues, drug policy violations, social injustice concerns and COVID policy violation, misconduct, harassment and more .”
” Mr. Chadwick was a Rice player when the two players who were accused of discrimination left the team.
” “I was caught in the crosshairs wondering if there were any discriminatory practices going on and why it wasn’t addressed earlier,” Mr. Chadwick stated.
He moved to Valparaiso and began the research. He reached out to more 200 university administrators, and asked them about their systems for handling complaints from or concern athletes.
“There was a common theme to all of his conversations, such as ‘I have an informal policy’ or ‘I get the chance to get acquainted with my children’. But there wasn’t consistency. It was done anonymously or with pen and paper. Some also did it electronically. Overall, there was terrible participation.”
Mr. Chadwick’s first iteration of his system allowed athletic departments to conduct end-of-season surveys from players. It was shocking to see the feedback from ADs: Stories of NCAA violations and drug abuse, hazing, and sexual assault.
” The players were very open to this idea and willingly put in some very private and important information into it,” said Mr. Chadwick. “I thought, we can’t wait for end-of-year surveys to get some of this information.”
RealResponse expanded its technology to include ways for athletes to initiate contact through a simple text.
The company offers an option for companies to record how they responded to complaints. The biggest scandals in Olympic sex abuse cases involved the need to track what the authorities did after receiving information. These programs help keep track.
USADA has signed on to the platform, marking another important milestone. The ability to safeguard whistleblowers who share information has been a problem for anti-doping professionals since the beginning.
“The link with RealResponse removes potential obstacles for whistleblowers when communicating with our investigation teams,” Travis Tygart, USADA CEO said .
Mr. Chadwick stated that the ultimate goal was to facilitate this in every aspect of sport. The other hurdle is convincing organizations to accept the collection and efficient use of information. This data has been mishandled for many decades or never used at all.
” In years past there has been resistance to implement systems like ours due to the question “Do we want it?” Mr. Chadwick stated. We believe that this is a key point to be focused on. If you want to know, you should put systems and people in place to not only uncover the issues but to address them.”
This story was reported by The Associated Press.