Back in October, after it came out that Ricky Garard took banned substances at the CrossFit Games, and subsequently was banned for the next four years, Garard took to Instagram to anonymously accuse other athletes of doing it too.
Here’s what Ricky said: “It’s tough to be on the receiving end when I saw a top athlete at the CrossFit Games intentionally outsmart the system, getting away with it [and] ruining the integrity of the sport.”
Basically, ‘others are doing it too, I’m just the one who got caught.’
So what now?
Yesterday, CrossFit HQ announced a new way for the CrossFit community to report allegations of misconduct. This could be any violation of the CrossFit Games rulebook — submitting false scores, team athletes not actually working out at the same affiliate, doping or using any kind of banned substance, etc.
Anyone, and we mean anyone can report a violation by filling out an allegation form, calling an anonymous tip line, or sending an email. CrossFit HQ says that all allegations will remain confidential.
First off, the CrossFit community for being so large, diverse and widely dispersed around the world, is actually impressively honest. Unfortunately, we’ve seen an alarming number of cheaters surface recently. Eleven athletes across the Regionals and Games were caught using banned substances and Masters Athlete Trevor Bachmeyer made 17.5 even more famous by looping round one to make it appear he completed 10 rounds. All those infractions landed athletes banned from two to four years.
Here’s our opinion: HQ has started receiving an increasing number of allegations of wrongdoing. We know at least this much because in the case of the five Meridian athletes, “CrossFit had information it deemed reasonable that led to screening specific athletes.” Now HQ wants a single location to receive, monitor and track these complaints. Again, this is our take.
However, opening up the whistleblower floodgates to two million + CrossFitters doesn’t come without complications. Here are a few important questions that we don’t have answers to:
- What’s the process going to look like for verifying allegations?
- Who picks and chooses which allegations to pursue?
- What safeguards are in place to ensure whistleblowers’ identities remain anonymous?
- What happens to whistleblowers who submit false claims against other athletes, affiliates, or teams?
- What measures are in place for affiliate owners, athletes and teams who are fraudulently accused of wrongdoing to safeguard themselves?
We believe in the integrity of sports and that cheating of any kind is never acceptable, and we join in CrossFit HQ’s zero tolerance stance on drugs. We just also believe in transparency and oversight in how CrossFit HQ plans to pursue allegations of wrongdoing.