The AIBA handed down a three month suspension to USA boxing today, effectively ending all sanctioned amateur competition until mid-January.
The situation revolves around statements made by former president of USA Boxing and current board member Hal Adonis. Adonis previously made offensive comments to the New Yorker magazine that homosexuality runs rampant in female boxing and also included statements that boxers are more likely to succeed in the sport if they were abused as children.
AIBA contacted USA Boxing and told them to resolve the issue and remove Adonis from the board for defaming the AIBA, the sport of boxing, doing harm to minority groups in the sport..etc.
While USA Boxing did remove Hal from his role as president, he was not removed from the board entirely, as explained in a communication sent out by the group:
After Mr. Adonis made the alleged statements, the Board of USA Boxing voted to remove Mr. Adonis as President and Chairman of the Board. Colorado law requires that removal from the Board of USA Boxing requires a majority vote of the voting electors who placed Mr. Adonis on the board. Accordingly, the Board of Directors requested a vote of the 72 electors to remove Mr. Adonis from the board. Fifty-one (51) of the 72 voting members responded. The majority of the 51 voting members cast their ballots to retain Mr. Adonis as a board member. For this reason, USA Boxing is charged as equally guilty in these violations of the Olympic principles, AIBA Articles, the Rules of USA Boxing and code of ethics of USA Boxing.
On September 27, 2012 USA Boxing received a letter from the USOC threatening decertification of USA Boxing if immediate agreement to a change of governance were not met. This letter included a timeline within which USA Boxing must meet the required change of governance or face dissolution. The letter from the USOC was several pages long and contained a laundry list of the past failings and mistakes of USA Boxing. In addition to the abbreviated list of our failings, this letter contained the names of two members of our organization, Mr. Hal Adonis and Mr. Gary Pliner who were each specifically cited as partial cause for this decertification notice.
The demands of the USOC to avoid immediate decertification included immediate acceptance of a mutually agreed-upon Advisory Committee which would oversee the actions of USA Boxing, acceptance of a "Transitional Board" as of December 31, 2012, and the "new governance" which would be acceptable to the USOC and AIBA, and which would be put forward for mutual agreement by June 1, 2013. The service of the Transitional Board will terminate and the new governance takeover January 1, 2014.
That was followed with tonight's communication explaining that the program had been suspended:
USA Boxing just received notification from AIBA, the international federation for boxing, that all amateur boxing activities in the United States are immediately suspended. The suspension cancels all sanctioned competitions; coach and official clinics; boxing club activities; membership registrations; and insurance coverage.
USA Boxing and our insurance companies will not take any insurance claims until the AIBA suspension is remedied and/or served until January 19, 2013.
The AIBA Disciplinary Commission levied this suspension against the organization for inappropriate and improper statements made by Mr. Hal Adonis earlier this year.
The AIBA Disciplinary Commission Decision of October 19, 2012 states:
"By failing to remove Mr. Adonis from the USA Boxing Board of Directors when it had the chance to do so, USA Boxing, in essence, endorsed Mr. Adonis’ statements and sent out a message that such behavior was acceptable. The action (or lack thereof) and the very serious and harmful nature of Mr. Adonis statements, has jeopardized boxing and the Panel finds it appropriate to impose a suspension upon USA Boxing. This suspension must reflect the severity of the offence."
The AIBA suspension terms are:
1. USA Boxing shall be fully suspended for a period of 3 months from October 19, 2012
2. Mr. Adonis shall pay a fine of CHF 2,000 and be suspended from all boxing activities at national
and international levels, for 2 years starting from October 19, 2012.
3. The costs of the proceedings, fixed at CHF 1,500, shall be borne equally between USA Boxing
and Mr. Adonis.
4. The decision will be communicated to USA Boxing, Mr. Adonis (via Hollie L Wieland of Karp
Neu Hanlon Attorneys) and to the Headquarters of AIBA.
This is the initial notification. It is unclear if further conditions or demands will follow. We are waiting on further details from AIBA. Your President; Board of Directors; and Executive Director are working diligently to determine any further demands of this suspension and to see if USA Boxing can offer any remedies to shorten it. In the event that we are successful in shortening or lessening our penalties, USA Boxing will notify you immediately to let you know your sanctioned event can take place. Please assist in communicating this information to your constituents as soon as possible. We will continue to update you on the status of this suspension as necessary. In the meantime, USA Boxing and the Board of Directors are taking every measure available to ensure that amateur boxing is resumed as soon as possible.
Of course, this wasn't the only thing Adonis did recently that was inexcusable. Including this horrible display (via Examiner.com):
...this Hal Adonis 'situation' began last year when Inside Boxing.com became aware of the death of Marine Corporal Libardo Anthony Jimenez, Jr. who died on March 23, 2010, following an unusually rigorous training session under the guidance of Ron Simms, then Head Boxing Coach of the All-Marines Boxing Team who was later terminated by the U.S. Marine Corps following their own internal investigation deeming him 'unfit to coach'.
The arrogance and pompous attitudes of Hal Adonis, Joe Zanders, and Rons Simms who all refused to apologize to Mrs. Penny Palmer (mother of Jimenez, Jr.) and the deceased Marines' family was and remains an unforgivable offense.
In another blatant show of their viewed superiority, Adonis and then 2012 USA Olympic Boxing Head Coach Zanders unbelievably appointed Ron Simms an assistant coach on that staff to the dismay of U.S. Marines around the world.
The USOC stepped in and not only dismissed Ron Simms from the team, but Zanders as well, with Adonis left fuming and more defiant than ever.
Adonis also failed to name an Olympic coaching staff more than 100 days before this past summer's games. Another violation of his position.
What is most unfortunate here is who is hurt. It's about the kids and young adults who rely on the USA Boxing amateur program.
The AIBA showed themselves to be well outside of anything close to "in control" of the sport during these Olympic games with a seemingly endless line of controversy. USA Boxing is a program that is a mess to begin with and the fact that board members would vote to retain Adonis in this situation is mindblowing.
And because of everyone higher up the food chain, it'll be three months where kids who don't make any decisions are the ones who suffer.