The head of the organization that runs Olympic curling in the United States resigned Friday in the wake of an investigation that revealed he failed to act on allegations of sexual abuse and other harassment when he was commissioner of a women’s soccer league.
USA Curling said it had accepted the resignation of CEO Jeff Plush and appointed Dean Gemmell, who most recently worked as the federation’s director of development, as interim CEO.
USA Curling also said it was launching a full review of its bylaws and governance policies, including how it manages abuse claims.
“Change will come swiftly, with contributions from all kinds of people who play our great sport,” the federation said in a statement.
Plush’s tenure was already in turmoil when the governing body voted at a member’s assembly earlier this week to expel the country’s largest regional association for nonpayment of dues during the pandemic. Clubs complained that debate was shut down without having a chance to voice their opposition and about other irregularities in the voting process.
Unhappy curling clubs took to Twitter with calls to #FlushPlush, saying the purge clashed with the sport’s ethos as a welcoming, convivial community and its desire to grow beyond its upper midwestern roots.
Last week, citing the soccer investigation, a majority of USA Curling’s diversity task force called for his removal and, failing that, for the board to step down.
“He cannot be trusted to prioritize the safety and well-being of athletes in this organization,” the group said in a statement that was signed by 11 current and former members of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. “We are concerned about the immediate safety of US curlers.”
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