Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Baby Steps

US Sailing made public the results of a recent Rule 69 hearing today, a case that had been simmering since last July, with the protested party (Brodie Cobb) receiving at two-year suspension. Scuttlebutt got involved early in this case, not because we had an ax to grind with the parties involved, but because we felt that cases like these deserved to be better publicized. We felt fortunate that we had attained information from the incident, and saw it as an opportunity to help improve communication of this area of the sport.

In the past, it was US Sailing’s desire to protect both the system for which cases like this are handled, and to help maintain the “innocent until proven guilty” standard for the parties involved. While good in principle, we believed that there was greater value in heightening the awareness for incidents of gross misconduct, so as to help prevent them for occurring again, and to communicate to the public that a potentially bad apple was among our midst.

When US Sailing handed out a six-month suspension for an incident in 2005, the hearing took six months. This latest hearing took slightly less time. Baby steps. Also, the 2005 case was the first time where details of the incident and subsequent hearing were made public, having been posted on the US Sailing website. However, this was done after the length of the penalty had been completed, with the details of this latest hearing being made public now, at the beginning of the suspension term. Baby steps. - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

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