Water Polo Olympians Start Petition Demanding Removal of USA Water Polo CEO, Board Chairman

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More than 10 Olympic water polo players as well as former U.S. national team members, coaches and officials have joined forces to call for the removal of USA Water Polo CEO Christopher Ramsey and USA Water Polo board chairman Michael Graff.

The group of players, coaches and officials is part of more than 200 people who have signed an online petition calling for the leaders’ removal, according to the Orange County Register.

“As members of USAWP, we have no confidence in the judgement and leadership of Mike Graff and Chris Ramsey, and we ask the Board to immediately and permanently remove both from any and all positions or roles within USAWP,” the petition reads.

The petition, which was posted on Tuesday, Jan. 5, goes on to discuss the “alarming history” and “pattern of behavior by the leadership of USAWP.”

The authors of the petition include former USA Water Polo team captain Christopher Duplanty and is supported by U.S. Olympic coach Terry Schroeder (2008 and 2012), according to the Orange County Register.

The petition discusses the safety of athletes and the lack of communication and transparency by USA Water Polo leadership. Here is an excerpt from the petition:

“USAWP have provided no information, made no public announcements, or issued any explanation of any kind to its entire membership about these serious matters. … As reported in the Orange County Register (OCR) on October 27, 2020, in 2017 the CEO of USAWP, Chris Ramsey, was informed of multiple allegations of sexual abuse of USA Water Polo athletes, who were minors, involving a USAWP registered and certified coach. The article stated that, by law, Ramsey was a mandatory reporter but did not report the allegations to law enforcement as the law requires. Further, Ramsey also chose not to immediately suspend the coach pending an investigation, despite the continued risk to innocent athletes with whom this coach interacted. Instead, Ramsey only referred the matter to SafeSport. SafeSport then conducted a 20-month investigation which resulted with SafeSport banning this coach for life based on the severity of his offenses on innocent athletes. At a minimum, Ramsey’s failure to act in a timely and responsible manner exposed innocent USA Water Polo athletes (minors) and USAWP members to additional risk without any notice or warning to USAWP athletes, parents or guardians of minor USAWP athletes or other USAWP members.

… Adding to this 2017 failure by USAWP to fulfill its duties and protect the safety of its athletes and members is the fact that USAWP was previously named in a civil lawsuit back in 2014 – as reported by the OCR – which identified the same USAWP registered and certified coach as an alleged sexual abuser. This fact makes it clear that Ramsey and USAWP would have been well aware in 2017 that this same coach had been named previously in a sexual abuse report and lawsuit. USAWP and Ramsey’s failure to act appropriately and responsibly in 2017 is even more inexplicable, egregious, and unacceptable in this light.

Finally, the alarming history in this case and pattern of behavior by the leadership of USAWP continues with reports that Ramsey and USAWP were aware of this same USAWP registered coach even prior to 2014.

… As members of USAWP and concerned individuals, we have no confidence in the judgement and leadership of Mike Graff and Chris Ramsey, and we ask the Board to immediately and permanently remove both from any and all positions or roles within USAWP.

Read the full petition here.

More water polo news here.

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