The Unspoken Injustice in Sports: Are Some Coaches the Unmasked Wolves in Sheep Clothing?

Nicholle Collom, University of Kelaniya

Expressing opinions on the unspoken side of the coin, taking any circumstance of life in to consideration, is always a risk that a writer may encounter. The truth be spoken, the opinion and perspective that you and I may share can be contrastingly distinct depending on the circumstance and experiences that one may have encountered. There may be some of us who have courageously fought for ourselves conquering against the injustice. Yet, amidst the presence of these brave warriors, how many voices may have been overpowered, unable to voice out the injustice that they may have encountered in sport? How many of you may have silently suffered and engaged in silent battles for the fear of being penalized, degraded or being considered an outcast?  Therefore, my motive here is to be the voice for the ones that fear to speak out loud. I wish to pen this thought down so that you may be educated and that courage may find itself, for you to be your own voice and fight for yourself and for your children someday against injustice of prejudiced coaches in the field of sports.

As the saying goes, “behind every fearless player, is a fearless coach who refused to let them be anything but the best they can be.” For some sportsmen and sportswomen among us, this may be highly relatable and would seem the ideal quote to describe their coach, their mentor and motivator. All due credit must be given to all coaches who live up to this ideal, as these kinds of coaches are one in a million. Yet, amongst these great mentors, there are also those who would not justify the ideal presented the aforementioned quote. How many of us may have become fearing rather than fearless as sportsmen/women, because of the demotivation, personal agendas and personal choice of favorites of coaches? Open your eyes and think to yourself.

The one’s that stand up for themselves and voice out their opinions against the injustice are such a countable number or most precisely a handful. Whilst some of us choose to remain silent amidst these acts of a coach, some of us bravely battle it out for ourselves or for our kids, despite whatever the result maybe, for in the end impressions or opinions of the society and the observers from the outside do not matter. What is important is fighting for yourself or for one’s kids against the injustice prevalent in the actions of coaches no matter what.


Think for a moment. What does keeping silent about these unjustifiable acts give in return to you? Does it still gain you better training from the coach? Does the tolerance of this injustice give extra motivation to proceed forward and succeed in sport? Ask yourself, if this silence is assisting you to gain more or just degrading you more, hindering ones potential as a sportsman or sportswoman. The silence has not resulted in anything in the end has it? Ask yourself this. Amidst this questioning, realization may occur that what may have happened in the end is stagnation or the inability to succeed and proceed in achieving heights in the sport you have dreamt to succeed in all your life or even in the perspective of your child.

These sort of prejudices among coaches that create injustice in sport only helps us reminisce the fact that like most human beings in society, the coaches in sport too may be the unmasked wolves in sheep’s clothing, showing a good face to the biased and bad side to those others who are mostly neutral or stand against this injustice. Experience, as one may say will only make you realize that you should have spoken against the injustice both for one’s own sake and for the sake of the future of another. That is why it is of utmost importance to take the fight ahead or in the end the result will not be favorable for anybody.

On an endnote, I would be obliged to leave you with this quote from Jennie Finch which states, “looking back I’ve learned the most from the bad coaches, really, how not to act, how not to coach, how not to treat people. So I always say, no matter what situation you are faced with, how bad it is, you can always walk away and learn. You can rise above it.” Hence, you can put on your thinking caps and ponder on what has been said, if you are one of those victims that have been penalized and silent amidst the wrath of injustice in whatever level of the sport that you may engage in.

Therefore, my fellow sportsmen and sportswomen, if you have to face this brunt due to some coaches, I urge and wish that you may find the courage to fight, stand up for yourself and achieve all success in your battles.

May justice prevail and win amidst all odds! May the force be with you!

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Nicholle Collum is a Burgher of Dutch lineage who was educated at Holy Family convent, Bambalapitiya and  has indicated that “the article is based on a traumatic experience that my younger brother (who is a swimmer himself) had to undergo when he was small.” She has also indicated that she “is also very passionate about cricket and [that she has her] own facebook page where [she does] creative writing when time permits.” She is also an undergraduate at the University of Kelaniya, following an honours degree in Teaching English as a Second Language.”



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