Fifty sport groups unite to keep the games positive

Too much focus on violence, drugs, sex abuse and bullying


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Members of Manitoba's sports community have decided to take a stand.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/05/2016 (2499 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Members of Manitoba’s sports community have decided to take a stand.

Fifty of the province’s sport organizations and a total of 146 members so far have signed up for the True Sport Lives Here Manitoba initiative, launched today at Manitoba’s Sport for Life Centre.

The awareness campaign seeks to promote seven defined guidelines across all sports:

— Go for it

— Play fair

— Respect others

— Keep it fun

— Stay healthy

— Include everyone

— Give back.

Negativity and poor attitudes are everywhere around sport, and growing, and that’s a concern to folks like Dr. Glen Bergeron, associate dean of the University of Winnipeg’s kinesiology department.

“Sport is being challenged,” Bergeron said at Tuesday’s True Sport launch. “The perception is out there, and no offence to anybody in particular but certainly in the media and among fans, the thing that attracts them, is the violence in sport.

“Look at how much press the Toronto Blue Jays-Texas Rangers punch has gotten. We have something like that, then we have an athlete like (Olympian and wheelchair rugby star) Jared Funk who comes in to speak here, and we know which one will be low on the pages if anywhere.”

Violence includes bullying and even the matter of concussions, Bergeron said.

“Now, what’s happening, is that people are going to start to vote with their feet, ” he said. “We’re already seeing it. People are now removing their kids from what they perceive to be a risky environment — psychologically, physically, emotionally.

“They’ll move them away at a time when they need it most. So it’s really important to start to promote all of those principles about sport, things we can do and live those.”

In February, Bergeron and the U o f W hosted a forum called Attack on Sport.

It focused on the negative narrative gaining prevalence in so many sports, and was eventually a call to action that led sport-community leaders to the True Sport program.

“We knew (the negativity) was out there,” he said. “One of the things we did at this forum was pick out articles over the last six months. We showed the (stories about) bullying, the hazing, the drugs in sport, the sexual abuse, the concussions. This is what we’ve seen in Manitoba. Is this the way we want sport to be portrayed?

“No? Then what are we going to do about it. And that was the whole initiative.”

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