* Part 1, David Berkoff: https://concussioninc.net/?p=8474
* Part 2, Pablo Morales: https://concussioninc.net/?p=8479
by Tim Joyce and Irvin Muchnick
Like his protégé David Berkoff, Dick Shoulberg — long-time and admired swim coach at the Germantown Academy outside Philadelphia — has said some of the right things at some of the right times during the unfolding of the generation-long USA Swimming sex abuse and cover-up scandal. Already widely publicized is the passage in an August 10, 2003, internal memo, expressing concern about the organization’s failure to adopt a true “zero tolerance policy,” in which Shoulberg wrote: “I would hate to see our organization ever in the predicament of the current Roman Catholic Church – protecting child molestors!”
Here are a couple of other things Shoulberg wrote — one before and one after making the Catholic Church analogy.
Earlier, Shoulberg had said: “… [S]omewhere I think our athletes need to be reminded of the seriousness of statutory rape and that it is looked upon as a felony. Unfortunately I know of instances (after the fact) on national trips that I have been on that these acts have taken place. In some cases, I was informed years later. My concern is if we are trying to protect the athletes and our organization, we must provide as much information as possible to all members of U.S. Swimming to protect first themselves and second the organization.”
Some time later, speaking of the outcome of the abuse committee’s work, Shoulberg said: “I am disappointed on the outcome of the Board. I feel that there are too many coaches still coaching who have destroyed kids’ lives and there will be more coaches in the future who will destroy kids lives.”
However, last year, when he was deposed in a civil lawsuit against USA Swimming, the plaintiff’s lawyers described Shoulberg’s testimony as bland and unhelpful.
Recently, Shoulberg’s own career hit a tragic denouement. After allegations that there was athlete-on-athlete abuse at Germantown and that he didn’t take appropriate action to curtail it, the school forced him out. (The underlying case is under police investigation.) When Shoulberg’s legions of well-wishers spoke out in his support, the administration backed down and a compromise was negotiated: Shoulberg has returned to the pool deck at Germantown for a farewell one-year tour as “coach emeritus.”
It is possible to believe that the body of Shoulberg’s life’s work was more more positive than not, while still mourning the absence of a long-lost act in public life: unselfish and honorable resignation in service of a greater cause.
Next in this series: Sanctions by California courts against USA Swimming for defying discovery orders; California Supreme Court rejects Swimming’s appeal; FBI subpoenas thousands of pages of documents.
FURTHER READING ON DICK SHOULBERG:
Published August 11th, 2012
Published August 31st, 2012
Published December 5th, 2013
Published December 7th, 2013