If you haven’t heard of Pat Smith and his effort to change the toxic culture in sports, you will soon.
After Smith, a former semi-professional baseball player who once played for an elite youth baseball team in Canada, found out that his former youth coach, Dan Bleiwas, had been suspended on charges of sexual assault of a player, he knew it was time to stand up and tell his story.
Although he was never sexually assaulted, he was a part of the negative culture of mistreatment and abuse that happened with the Ontario Blue Jays.
Immediately, he felt the need to address what had happened and reach out to the victim and to anyone who has been subjected to abuse through sports. The next morning, Smith made a video and posted it to his Facebook page.
The video, which currently has over 67,000 views, is making its rounds on social media throughout the baseball and sports world.
“While the response to his initial video has been overwhelmingly positive, Smith has already noticed that many are hesitant to make a video themselves” Think Progress reported. “He certainly understands the fear — even before posting his original video, he was afraid that his former teammates would watch it and call him a ‘pussy.’ But he recognized that fear as left-over baggage from when he was 17, and knew he had to speak up for himself. Now he just hopes others will do the same.
“‘If I’ve learned one thing over the last couple of days, it’s that too many men are suffering in silence,’ he wrote. ‘We need to make this a safe space. They don’t have to carry this forever.'”
Now he has taken to Twitter, reaching out to others to make a video showing their support like the one he tweeted HERE.
You can read more about Pat Smith and his story on Think Progress.
Or if you would like to make a video of support to include in his project, you can send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org