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Restorative justice could be answer to doping problem

August 10, 2009

….What happened in South Africa was an example of “restorative justice,”
a concept that has roots spreading to ancient Greece and, on this
continent, to the Native Americans.

It effectively dealt with apartheid. Let’s use it to help deal with doping in sports.

Take baseball as an example.

Thom Allena, a New Mexico-based authority on restorative justice who
spends much of his time working with hard-core juvenile criminals, says
baseball, like every other major sport, uses “the traditional
punishment system” and it is adversarial.

“It’s about who did what. How can we punish them? How do we make it
hurt?” he says. “Sometimes this is necessary. Sometimes there’s a
better way. . . . A restorative approach asks who has been harmed. What
has the harm been? It asks the accused, the victims, the people around
them — how do you feel about what happened? And finally, how do we go
about repairing the damage?”

Remember 10 years ago, when UCLA football players sparked outrage by
using forged signatures to procure disabled parking placards? Allena
was called in. He brought all sides together in a room and got them to
open up. It wasn’t perfect, it was often emotional and hard but healing
happened. Allena says burly athletes and disabled students ended up
working together to promote disabled rights on campus…..

Read the whole column.


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