A college basketball player hatched the idea after seeing a discrimination case nearly implode his own team, then wondering why nobody had done anything about it sooner. Ten years later, that player has developed the idea into a key tool for fixing a sports landscape teeming with cases of sexual abuse, along with examples of racism and sexism in the workplace, discrimination, harassment and doping cheats at virtually every level.
The player, David Chadwick, has transformed his idea into a company called Real Response, which provides customers - mainly university athletic departments and other sports organizations - technology to give athletes and employees a chance to initiate real-time, anonymous complaints by sending a simple text. On Monday, Real Response announced a deal with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which will use the platform as one of its many resources for whistleblowers to report their concerns about possible doping cases.
In a sign of the company's breadth, which also illustrates the wide range of possibilities and problems that abound through sports, Real Response already has deals in place with USA Gymnastics, the NFL Players Association, the National Women's Soccer League and more than 100 university sports programs. It is also looking to partner with some of thousands of youth and club-sports organizations around the United States.
"I wanted to come up with something that would solve a direct challenge - the lack of confidential, anonymous, real-time ways for athletes and others to share concerns and feedback with administration," Chadwick said. The technology is designed to be as simple as possible, specifically for a generation of athletes used to doing almost everything on their cell phones.
It allows athletes or employees to start a report about workplace discrimination, doping violations, sex abuse and other concerns with a simple text.