Sport Canada coach fired for extraordinary outburst

13:57  31 july  2021
13:57  31 july  2021 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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a close up of a man: Former Canada rugby captain Jamie Cudmore. © Getty Former Canada rugby captain Jamie Cudmore.

Rugby Canada has fired the head of its national development program for a string of "unacceptable" social media posts that put the country's women's sevens team publicly on blast.

The decision to sack Jamie Cudmore was made after he was outed by sevens veteran Charity Williams who shared a screengrab of several tweets sent from Cudore's account after the women's team missed the quarter finals at the Tokyo Olympics.

One of the since-deleted tweets from Cudmore's account read "Karma is a bitch! #Survivorsmyass." Rugby Canada confirmed the tweet came from Cudmore's account.

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"We are taking this matter very seriously and concluded that immediate action must be taken," Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen said in a statement. Cudmore was also relieved of his coaching duties with the men's 15s team.

"Rugby Canada's core values, including integrity and respect, must be exemplified in all our rugby programs and we are determined to promote a healthy, inclusive culture now and in future," Sally Dennis, the chair of Rugby Canada's board, said in the statement.

Cudmore apologised for his comments.

"I've always played/coached with my heart on my sleeve for this great country. I'm sorry if I've offended anyone," he tweeted.


Williams began her post outing Cudmore by expressing pride in her team.

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"What we accomplished this year is far greater than one weekend," Williams wrote on Instagram.

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"But instead I have to sit here, once again, and share what we've been going through as a team. The consistent hatred we have received from people in our own organisation.

"I'm only sharing because this is what we have been dealing with for months.

"From private texts, to public stalking online and in person. The bullying and harassment that we have received for coming forward is outrageous and scary at times. This is the reason we called for an internal investigation because we haven't been safe."

Cudmore's sacking came just months after an independent review was completed into Canada's rugby program to address a complaint filed by 37 current and former team members that shed light on a toxic culture.

a group of football players on a field: Canada's women's rugby sevens team at the Tokyo Olympics. © Getty Canada's women's rugby sevens team at the Tokyo Olympics.

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However the review concluded that the conduct described by the athletes did not fall within Rugby Canada's policy's definition of harassment or bullying.

Head coach John Tait subsequently stepped down, while maintaining he had done nothing wrong.

In a statement released on April 28, the players said their complaint "explained the psychological abuse, harassment and/or bullying these athletes feel they were subjected to in the centralized training environment."

In the wake of the investigation, the players said they had been let down by Rugby Canada's harassment and bullying policy. The policy has since been updated and replaced.

In Williams' Instagram post she also thanked those who had supported the team through a difficult period.

"We have heard you and we love you. We don't regret a single moment and the team's heads are all held high right now," Williams wrote.


Captain Ghislaine Landry also took to social media from Tokyo.

"We always knew this was about more than rugby, about more than one tournament, even if it's the Olympics," Landry wrote. "We knew the last nine months might put our Olympic dream in jeopardy, we had that discussion as a group, and still the decision was clear. We were ready to put our dreams at risk for change.

"This has not been a distraction but it has taken a toll on us. And so, while we are heartbroken not to have been able to play our best, we are proud and united."

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