NEWLY-APPOINTED British Bobsleigh coach Lee Johnston could already be facing the sack after derogatory statements about black drivers have come to light.
The 45-year-old made the comments back in 2013, and the Guardian have revealed he was ‘formally disciplined and warned’ over his future.
A three-time Winter Olympian competing in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 games, he was only appointed as GB head coach last month, replacing Dominik Scherrer following his resignation.
In a training session back on July 4, 2013, Johnston is accused of telling squad member Toby Olubi: “I knew you would be late because you are black.”
Before the 12-time British champion later said that day: “Black drivers do not make good bobsleigh drivers.”
His remarks were reported by black athlete Henry Nwume, who sent an email in March 2014 to the then chairman of the governing body, as well as to a performance manager at UK Sport.
The British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association said in a statement: “A complaint was made against a member of staff in 2014 relating to an incident that was alleged to have taken place in 2013 and this matter was formally investigated and dealt with appropriately at the time.”
When the Guardian asked UK Sport if they were aware of the allegations – a spokesperson said: “UK Sport was aware of this allegation at the time and sought assurances that it was being dealt with appropriately by the BBSA as the employer.”
Though they failed to respond to a question over whether Johnston being formally disciplined was an adequate response.
The report states that a number of the current bobsleigh squad do not believe that Johnston is racist, though they admit his comments to Olubi were deeply wrong.
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They also have revealed that as well as racist allegations, there have also been a number of complaints over British bobsleigh including spending £500,000 on a mothballed sled, financial mismanagement and concerns over athletes welfare.
The organisation have been given £5million of taxpayers’ money as they prepare for 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea in four months time.
Johnston was slated on Twitter for his remarks, with one person stating: “How can he be in charge of selection if he can publicly express those ideas about black people?”
While another said: “Shocking comment, but it looks like the problems at British
#Bobsleigh go deeper than one racist comment.”
One person even suggested black drivers should protest, declaring: “Looks like time for black British bobsleigh drivers to take the knee. Did this guy not see Cool Runnings?”
With another claiming Johnston is simply a racist, saying: “If he wasn’t racist then he wouldn’t have made these remarks. It’s that simple.”