After witnessing a discrimination case almost erupting his college basketball team, he came up with the idea. He then wondered why no one had taken action sooner.
Ten years later, the player developed the idea into an important tool to fix a sports landscape that was rife with sexual abuse cases, racism, sexism at work, discrimination and doping cheats at every level.
David Chadwick, a player, turned his idea into RealResponse. This company provides technology to customers, mainly universities athletic departments, to allow athletes and employees to send simple texts to raise anonymous, real-time complaints.
RealResponse and the U.S Anti-Doping Agency announced Monday a partnership. The agency will use the platform to help whistleblowers report concerns regarding possible doping cases.
RealResponse has already signed deals with USA Gymnastics and the NFL Players Association. This is a testament to the company’s size and illustrates the many problems and possibilities that sports can present. It also plans to partner with a number of youth- and club-sports associations in the United States.
Chadwick stated, “I wanted something that would solve an immediate challenge — the lack in confidential, anonymous and real-time ways for athletes to share concerns with administration.”
This technology was designed for athletes who are used to using their phones to do almost everything.
With a simple text, athletes and employees can report workplace discrimination, doping violations or sex abuse. It does not require you to fill out lengthy forms or use drop-down menus. Privacy features allow administrators to collect more information from whistleblowers, while still allowing them to remain anonymous.
Initially, the NFLPA purchased the service to allow players to report any inconsistencies in COVID-19 protocols. According to a news release by the NFLPA, it has expanded its use of this service to “anonymously, securely report any and all issues…for everything from training camp issues to drug policy infractions to social injustice concerns to medical issues to COVID-19 policy violations to misconduct, hazing and harassment to name a few.”
Chadwick’s idea was born when he was a Rice player. Two of his teammates left Rice after accusing Rice administrators of discrimination.
Chadwick stated, “I was caught in the crosshairs between not knowing what was happening and wondering, if there were any, why weren’t they uncovered and addressed sooner?”
He moved to Valparaiso and began the research. He reached out to more than 200 university athletic department administrators, asking what systems were in place for athletes’ concerns and complaints.
Chadwick stated that he heard a common theme of many informal forms of contact. He said things such as “I have an open-door policy” and “I get to know my children.” But there was no consistency. It was done anonymously, with pen and paper, electronically, or in anonymity. There was poor participation overall.
Chadwick’s initial version of his system allowed athletic departments the ability to conduct end-of season surveys from players. The feedback received by the ADs was shocking: Stories of NCAA violations, drug abuse, hazing and sexual assault.
Chadwick stated that “the players very much believed in this and were willingly to put very confidential, serious things into the program.” “I thought, we cannot wait for end-of year surveys to get some information.”
RealResponse has expanded its technology to allow athletes to initiate contact by simply sending a text.
It also provides a way for organisations to keep track of how they responded to complaints. The biggest scandals in the Olympic sexual abuse cases involved trying to find out what authorities did after receiving information. These programs keep track.
USADA’s signing-on to the platform is another milestone for USADA. The ability to protect whistleblowers who share their information has been a long-standing problem in anti-doping.
Travis Tygart, CEO USADA, stated that “The connection to RealResponse helps eliminate potential barriers for whistleblowers communicating with our investigation teams.”
Chadwick stated that the ultimate goal was to make it easier in all areas of sports. Another obstacle to overcome is convincing organizations to use the data more efficiently and to gather it better. This information has been mishandled for decades.
Chadwick stated, “In years past there has been a reluctance in implementing a system such as ours because of the question: ‘Do you want to know?’ We believe that this is a key point to remember. You must have systems and people to help you not only find the problems but also to solve them.