USA Curling Open Letter October 2022

Open Letter from SVCC to USCA and the Curling Community on the Yates Report

PDF version available here

To: USA Curling, and the US Curling CommunityOctober 23, 2022

Athletes can only play at their best when they are able to bring their whole selves to the field of competition, without fear of harassment or abuse in any form. Any competent leader of a sporting organization, regardless of its purpose – recreation, business, or the Olympic Movement – must hold to this as a guiding principle. Actions or inaction that betray this principle are disqualifying for a role in sport leadership.

The Yates Report, investigating systemic abuse of athletes in the NWSL, shows that Jeff Plush, CEO of USA Curling, failed this mandate while serving as commissioner. Reporting from USA Today further calls into question his integrity, alleging that he made statements to USA Curling staff last year that he intended to cooperate with this Yates investigation. The resultant report clearly states that Mr. Plush did not cooperate with the investigation.

In light of these allegations, the absence of transparency in recent press releases supporting Mr. Plush from the USCA Board of Directors (BoD) calls into question whether they truly prioritize athlete safety, their ability to hold staff accountable, and their judgment about what best serves the long-term interests of our sport in the United States.

We stand as part of a chorus of curlers & clubs demanding change:

We affirm our agreement with the calls to action in these letters, including the resignation or removal of Mr. Plush as CEO, and the release of details of the BoD’s investigation.

We call on USA Curling to work to restore trust in its incident reporting system by increasing its transparency, and accountability with the following steps:

  • Establish an independent incident review group structured to avoid conflicts of interest,
  • Publish the membership of that group, including its gender mix, members, and titles held,
  • Ensure that the makeup of that group reflects the diversity of our curling community.

Furthermore, we ask all curling clubs to take local action on this matter. The majority of curlers’ experiences are with their local club. We must look at our club-level policies & procedures and remedy them wherever and however they are lacking. Within SVCC, we have found value in and suggest clubs consider these steps:

  • Adopt a Code of Conduct or equivalent policies for all participants,
  • Setup a reporting process & group independent of your club’s leadership,
  • Ensure that group’s membership is transparent to potential reporters and representative of your clubs current and future constituency, and
  • Establish recusal policies and processes in the event of a conflict of interest.

Athlete safety is paramount. We owe it to ourselves and all future curlers to get this right.

With all due respect,

Silicon Valley Curling Club