By Mirabella Booth
Maggie Haney has coached gymnasts to Olympic and international victory. Some of her most notable protegee include: Olympic gold medalist and member of the historic Final Five, Laurie Hernandez, and Riley Mckuster, 2018 World Champion. The accomplished coach resides in Marlboro, New Jersey, where she coaches a handful of Olympic hopefuls in preparation for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Haney is under investigation by USA Gymnastics for allegations of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. The report alleges that Haney screamed, threatened, bullied, and harassed gymnasts regularly. She allegedly told those who were rehabbing foot injuries to remove their boot casts and to continue training and competing, per the report. These disturbing allegations raise some serious questions regarding the safety of her young athletes.
Haney is being investigated by USA Gymnastics. Thus, the organization is investigating itself without a third party. The organization has received reports of abuse by Haney, dating back to 2016. This raises some alarms given the organization’s track record for neglecting reports of abuse. Most notably, the organization’s infamous coverup of sexual abuse by team doctor Larry Nassar.
While Haney is under investigation for these serious allegations, she is still able to train her athletes without restriction. This is extremely alarming considering, if these allegations are true, Haney is open to abuse her young athletes without accountability or supervision.
USA Gymnastics said in a statement, “Athlete safety and well-being are top priorities for USA Gymnastics, and all misconduct reports and concerns are taken very seriously and handled proactively. While it may appear to the outside that a report or matter is on hold or ignored, the truth is that the report/matter is being dealt with confidentiality in accordance with the established process and procedures, which fully comply with federal law and United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee requirements.”
When dealing with the safety of children, there should be a sense of urgency when investigating abuse. The organization has proven itself unfit to hold themselves accountable and protect their athletes. There should be a third party investigating the alleged abuse to ensure the safety of these athletes given the organization’s failure to investigate these allegations. Additionally, Haney shouldn’t be in a position where she is able to potentially continue to abuse her athletes while under investigation. These changes would aid in ensuring the safety of these young athletes.