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Toni Minichiello, former coach of Jessica Ennis-Hill, suspended by UK Athletics

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  • #31
    Reading the detailed (proven) charges what strikes me is what a puerile and pathetic little man he is. Which is not to say that his behaviour did not have a serious and negative impact on the athletes concerned. Certainly right that he never coaches again.

    My second thought was how will this be used against Jess. The problem is that UKA chose to describe the conduct as of the "utmost seriousness". Nonsense there is a range of awful behaviour far worse than what he did and to put this in the same bracket is to diminish what people like Charlie Webster experienced. But that now puts Jess in an impossible position. True to form, up pops Matt Lawton in The Times. It's clear what he's now doing on his Twitter and in his articles - implying that Jess knew all about this behaviour and did nothing to support the affected athletes and isn't speaking out strongly enoug in sufficiently unequivocal terms. Without saying it explicitly, he'll imply she is in some way complicit.

    So the outcome won't just be the (rightful) end of Mininchello's career but Lawton (no doubt assisted by Ingle in The Guardian) will also make sure a dent is put in Jess' reputation. (As an aside - both consistently focus on the negatives in the sport in a disproportionate manner). Lawton will now take a story about one man's awful behaviour and turn it into a hatchet job of one of the big names in the sport. How very British.

    Like so many women before her, Jess decided to put up with a dickhead in her workplace. Maybe because he's a pathetic bully and she's a strong character, like most bullies he didn't try it on with her. Maybe she was just less affected by it than others But regardless just because others were affected more by his behaviour, it doesn't mean she should share any of the blame. .

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    • #32
      Who's placing bets that Jess Ennis-Hill won't be on the pundits' couch in the studio come the start of the European Championships on Monday? Because I'd put very good odds of that being the case unfortunately.

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      • #33
        I can understand the view that Jess needs to make a fuller statement. Those couple of paragraphs on her Insta story do feel inadequate and wishy washy.

        However, I do share Sovietvest distaste for Matt Lawton (that Oliver Dustin story shortly before Tokyo in particular was awful journalism). Perhaps a more considered statement / interview in due course will be more appropriate from Jess, maybe a chat with Jeanette (yet another individual who has had a run in with Lawton). But important not to lose sight of the fact that the ultimate 'baddie' here remains Minichiello

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        • Sovietvest
          Sovietvest commented
          Editing a comment
          The problem with Jess giving a more considered statement or interview is that there is no room for any nuance in discussing these sorts of topics. How does she explain why she took no action herself without saying that his behaviour, though wrong, was something she could deal with. But in saying that she'll be accused of minimising it and not supporting the other athletes.

        • MysteryBrick
          MysteryBrick commented
          Editing a comment
          Off topic, but the Dustin story from Matt Yates was disgusting, and I'm slightly disappointed in the athletes I know who are still with him.

        • Ladyloz
          Ladyloz commented
          Editing a comment
          But if Jess doesn't say anything else IMO that still leaves a lot of questions unanswered and speculation anyway Sovietvest.

          The reason why I suggested an interview with Jeanette is that I think she would ask relevant questions but wouldn't be looking for a 'gotcha' moment that others would be. I think an interview like that also allows more room for nuance.

      • #34
        It is likely that Jess as a full-time athlete rarely trained with the complainants who I suspect were largely student athletes who may have been more likely to train with him on weekday evenings and weekends.

        I must admit I did meet Toni Minichiello a few times starting at the 2005 European U20s when Jess won her first international title. I always got on quite well with him which shows you cannot tell everything about someone and their general behaviour just by spending a few hours in their company over the space of a few years.

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        • #35
          There is a bit going round social media from her book - in it, she says she was initially scared of him, took a while to warm up to him and that she didn’t get his humour. Also that he would say things she didn’t think was OK, and that, even recently (ie when the book was published) he still did and she’d think “you can’t say that”….so I can see why yesterday’s Insta post felt a bit overly ‘beige’…but it was exactly what I expected her to put out, given her position and how anything else would affect her career…

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          • trickstat
            trickstat commented
            Editing a comment
            I must admit it reminds me somewhat of those instances when someone admits to having a serious drinking problem when most of their friends and acquaintances just thought that they were a social drinker. Not that I'm saying that they are the same thing, but it's about how people sometimes manage to conceal aspects of themselves and their behaviour even from people who think they know them well.
            Last edited by trickstat; 10-08-22, 21:11.
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