SBD/September 6, 2017/Olympics

USA Taekwondo Leader Keith Ferguson Leaving After Handling Of Misconduct Cases

USA Taekwondo Exec Dir Keith Ferguson is "leaving the organization following a series of revelations about the handling of misconduct cases during his tenure," according to Armour & Axon of USA TODAY. USA Taekwondo announced his departure yesterday, "characterizing it as a 'mutual agreement.'" USA Taekwondo Dir of Marketing & Communications and Dir of Operations Steve McNally "will take over" as the acting Exec Dir. Ferguson will "remain with USA Taekwondo through the end of the month to advise McNally during the transition." USA Taekwondo hired Ferguson in January '16. He had "previously spent 15 years" at the USOC and was the CEO of USA Climbing. This change in leadership "comes after questions were raised about USA Taekwondo’s handling of misconduct cases" in three different instances. In June, it was reported that Gold Medal winner Steven Lopez and his older brother Jean, who is also his coach, were "allowed to go to last summer’s Rio Games despite being under investigation for sexual misconduct for more than two years." Earlier this summer, Ferguson "intervened in a disciplinary matter, lifting the temporary suspension of an athlete who is a twice-convicted felon." In July, emails showed that Ferguson "reinstated Para athlete David Metz a month earlier, allowing Metz to compete at the national championships." Under USA Taekwondo’s bylaws and code of ethics, Ferguson "does not have the authority to lift a suspension." In a third case, USA Taekwondo "failed to notify the USOC of a ban imposed against an athlete for sexual misconduct, allowing him to access the USOC training center at the Rio Olympics" (USA TODAY, 9/6).
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