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New technology offers an anonymous way to report abuse, doping

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Posted at 2:52 AM, Oct 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-18 08:52:28-04

A decade ago, college basketball player David Chadwick felt caught in the crosshairs when two of his teammates at Rice accused administrators of discrimination.

He later transferred to Valparaiso and started research on what would become a vital tool for fixing a sports landscape teeming with cases of sexual abuse, along with examples of unchecked racism and sexism in the workplace, discrimination, harassment and doping cheats.

Chadwick has parlayed his idea into a company called RealResponse, which provides customers — mainly universities and large sports organizations — technology to give athletes and employees a chance to initiate real-time, anonymous complaints by sending a simple text.

On Monday, RealResponse announced a partnership with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which will use the tool in the hopes of assisting whistleblowers report concerns about possible doping cases.

RealResponse now has deals in place with some of the most powerful institutions in American sports, including USA Gymnastics, the NFL Players Association, the National Women’s Soccer League and more than 100 university sports programs.

“I wanted to come up with something that would solve a direct challenge — the lack of confidential, anonymous, real-time ways for athletes and others to share concerns and feedback with administration,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

By employing simple technologies like text messages, RealResponse skips the intake forms and drop-down menus that populate many reporting apps and includes features to allow whistleblowers to maintain anonymity.

“In years past, there’s been a reluctance to implement a system like ours because of the question ‘Do we want to know?’” Chadwick said. “And that’s a point of emphasis for us. If you want to know, you should put systems and people in place to not only uncover the issues but to address them.”