How many times can the system damage female athletes? Today’s latest report of a coach who abuses the word The Athletic It feels like just the next in a long line of abuses against female athletes by coaches and their organizations willing to ignore complaints.
The incident reported today is somewhat more striking because who the coach – Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, described as the “Michael Jordan of women’s basketball” – is a mainstay of the sport, has been made a name for himself as one of the all-time greats at the collegiate, professional and international levels. Maybe that’s why she’s been able to keep moving from college work to college work as her athletes advance and are turned at the door, management stands firm by Cooper- Dyke when she allegedly abused basketball players physically, mentally, and emotionally.
The report is somewhat detailed with pictures, depicting Cooper-Dyke calling her players “bitches”, “idiots” and “retarded”, pretending to perform oral sex with her a male assistant coach, making frequent and inappropriate comments about her athletes’ sex lives, forcing athletes to compete for injuries, and physically punishing an athlete tablets to the point where she vomited violently and suffered skin abrasions on her knees and shoulders. It continues – at UNC-Wilmington, at USC, at Texas Southern, at Prairie View A&M. Some former players have spoken about the record, and others have not, but the sentiment is still abound: Cooper-Dyke has severely abused her authority as a trusted adult in her life. these girls.
And it’s happening across every level of women’s sport. Bringing the NWSL into a professional league, in which a lot of The coach was accused of abuse just last year in the form of racist and bigotry statements, verbal abuse, and even coercion of the players. Last month, the head coach of the University of Florida women’s soccer team was Fired after complaints of verbal abuse in just one season. Syracuse Women’s Basketball Coach resignation in 2021 after the players were accused of physical harassment and verbal abuse. Illinois Fired head coach of their women’s basketball team in 2017 after the players filed a lawsuit alleging a racially abusive environment on the show.
The disheartening part about this list and about the above Cooper-Dyke is that these are just things that we know about, which the administrators have had the foresight to remove. Many players were concerned about Cooper-Dyke being dropped, and it would be foolish to think that that kind of dismissal only happened at the schools she was coaching.
Women’s sports face a lot of hurdles and challenges, and while the growth in their popularity, viewership and funding over the past few decades has been really encouraging, this part really emphasizes that the issues that need to be addressed in ‘women’s sport are not’ always needed in the wider public.
The issue is not “softness,” but a matter of treating college athletes with some basic courtesy and respect. Bobby Knight’s behavior towards players was ignored for a long time because he was winning, but the public humiliation of young people is not “tough love”, it is abuse of power and have the potential to be incredibly psychologically damaging, an effect some of the women in the The Athletic article described feeling.
The new era of student-athlete empowerment seems to be an indescribable good in situations like these. The ability to deliver at will and use one’s voice to speak will hopefully help alleviate some of these program disasters. But first, managers and leadership need to believe athletes when they say something is wrong, rather than leaving people like Cooper-Dyke unchecked for years.