I have kept quiet on this forum for the past 3 years, as it wasn’t for me.
Today I will come clean with you all about some things that need to be cleared once and for all.
I have been involved in the sport of triathlon for 16 years. Ten years while I was a banking executive where I simply trained 12-15 hours a week besides an 80-hour working week to keep my life a little in balance. I had no coach, I did not read a magazines, I happily did not know about slowtwitch and I was just an average triathlete happy to complete a race, work and love his wife, family and friends.
Over a span of 17 years, I did well in banking and reached the title of Managing Director in the largest bank in South East Asia earning a little fortune each year, but I was not happy. The higher the ranks in banking I reached, the more I started to see of the system it is and the less I liked what I was part of. The credit card and unsecured lending business we implemented and operated across Asia at exorbitant interest rates, providing loans to gamblers, taxi drivers, young people who got into deep trouble with their lives because of banks pushing these products into the lives of people who should not receive them. The long and short, we were robbing people and pushing them to the edge, and I wont’ go into what I’ve seen in the banking world the past few years as everyone one of you have been able to see for yourself how the greed as reached levels we can not comprehend and it will continue until we finally stop accepting fines to financial institution, but do what should be done: criminal prosecution of those that get caught!
So I left banking in 2006 and started a bike store The Bike Boutique in Singapore. We introduced a bike-to-work concept (bikelodging) and the store started to do very well. We opened stores in other countries and cities and we were on track to actually franchise the concept oversees. In order to create a much wider brand reach, I wanted to sponsor a team and picked triathlon as the right sport for it. But more important than the TBB bike stores, the environmental drive was my strong desire to give back to those in need through sports. A few people actively introduced me to a man called Brett Sutton. I did not know the man, I did not recognize one athlete he had ever trained except for Greg and Laura Bennett who I once met at the Phuket Laguna Triathlon, I did not know his past.
We spoke for a few times on the phone and initially I could not even get past his Australian accent, but Brett had a vision about life, a desire to help people, a bit of dislike of corporate people like me who were all out filling their own pockets at the expense of others.
I liked what I heard, as I had gotten to a point in my life that I wanted to make sure my life had a more meaningful purpose, was filled with more love and compassion instead of material possessions. I wanted to live a life that could enable me to contribute beyond myself.
Two months before a meeting we were trying to set up, I started to do some research on the coach and person Brett Sutton online. I was shocked when I first read all the articles on the internet and trust me I read more than any one of you have ever read on him.
I spoke to many male and female athletes from the past and present who had been in contact with Brett throughout their career. I spoke to coaches involved, studied the actual court case and proceedings. I discussed the topic many times with my wife who is victim of sexual, emotional and physical abuse herself.
I decided to meet the man with some 15 people of all walks of life to see if we could define in a 1-page document a common vision of what we wanted to achieve, our mission, our values, what we wanted to offer, to who and what would be our ultimate commitment. At the same time, this also allowed me to get to know in-depth the person so many people on this forum rather see burried than alive.
During these meetings, I heard athletes like Bella Bayliss, Reinaldo Colucci, Rebecca Preston and Stephen Bayliss talk about this man Brett Sutton. Not many on this forum will understand what their coach has meant for them in their lives. Just like you can ask any of your favorite female triathlon athletes to come on this forum and explain what this broken man has meant to them, not just as an athlete, but as a human being, it would not help some of the eternal cynics here to even listen and open their hearts for just a second. Brett himself has asked all of his athletes to never write anything on this or any other forum, as he felt they should not defend him because he feels he is guilty as charged.
So back to December 2006, I took another 3 days of non-stop to talk with Brett Sutton one-on-one, I asked him any question that I wanted to ask, he explained in every detail to me about his upbringing, his life, his problems, his achievements, his regrets, his pain and the circumstances under which he made the biggest mistake in his life ever. I wanted to know, not the high level stuff, but EVERY detail, so I could form my opinion about this man, his sins, his true desire to help others, his passion for his little girls, 3 kids and his wife and just THE FACTS. After a few more days I invited Brett Sutton to my house, so my wife, a victim herself, a pshychologist and a person that turned the pain of her experiences into a super powerful way of healing herself and running a successful practice (www.healingtransformations.com
) where she now helps other victims to overcome their pain and horror.
To my surprise, my wife who is extremely intuitive about people, told me after one hour “Alex, you should work with Brett as he is a very special man and he is serious about helping other people, with one and one intend only: to do good for people and to help him make up for the mistake he has made in his life. He is NOT a repeat offender, he is NOT a predator, he is NOT a child molester. He is a smart man, with some serious problems in his youth, he run into trouble into his mid twenties and made a fatal mistake under the pressure and like man do at times, he followed his dick and not his mind. Alex, I know he is not what some people on the internet are trying to portrait him as, you have my blessing and support to work with him”.
Would I ever want to hurt my wife, who I love dearly and has been exposed to 6 years of abuse and had turned her life around in a miraculous manner herself?
She has never done a triathlon, knew nothing about the people Brett has coached to become world champions, and she did not care about that at all, she simply looked at his heart and the chance he could make the same mistake again.
I decided by mid December 2006 I was going to work with Brett Sutton in teamTBB and asked him also to advise me on business and social program matters, as Brett had set up more social sports programs than most people in triathlon will ever do. Brett understand the sport of triathlon better than any and on a very profound level that goes way further than some private equity funds guys who just try to make a quick buck out of this lifestyle sport.
It’s a lot easier for me today to come clean about all this, as now 6 years later I have closed my business thanks to a morally bankrupt company called WTC for not honoring a signed 5 year agreement for my business to operate all Ironman Stores in Asia Pacific based on a profit split arrangement. So there is no more business called TBB.
All that is left is teamTBB as a social program and non-profit organization with a mission to improve the lives of youth around the world by providing hope and opportunity through sports. TBB really means T
est we can B
e and we say NO to Drugs, we say NO to Violence, we say NO to obesity and will expand teamTBB to take this message into more and more communities around the world. We use triathlon as a vehicle to spread the message, but our program is a lot less about triathlon than many people are aware of. The fact our team produces about 1 in 4 ironman champions around the world has made the public think at times, all we care about is winning more race.
So let me be very clear with any one on this forum, and for me that means first and foremost I care about any one that is victim him or herself of sexual abuse. I really can’t be bothered about the handful of guys (you know who you are) that love to beat up just any one on a forum under a hidden name, and often cry in their hearts as the only place they can be a hero is here on an anonymous basis.
I’m NOT defending Brett Sutton, nor any person that committed a similar or worse act, I strongly as possible disapprove of it!
I hold the highest respect for the dignity of women, not to even say the dignity of a child.
In my previous answer I addressed from my heart my response to victims across the world.
I want to believe that deep down inside, everyone who has attacked Brett in this forum wants the absolute truth and justice and I respect that.
So therefore, please allow me to respond now to those attacking Brett and ask ourselves if deep down inside what we want is the truth or to just continue to attack a human being who, when transgressed, did not defend himself by attacking but humbly admitted his enormous wrong and accepted the consequences it would bring.
AGAIN, I don't excuse Brett in any way, but I often ask myself if in that position would I have taken the high road he did or would I had tried to somehow justify or find reasons for my transgression, KNOWING that I would be thrown in a basket that does not really tells all the truth.
I pray that everyone in this forum who attacked Brett deep down inside seek within themselves if their aim is to expose a predator in their mind or is there any other motive.
Without diminishing the seriousness of his offence or trying to defend Brett in any way shape or form, for the sake of truth, honesty and transparency allow me now to address some words being used in this forum.
When we call a person a predator, a rapist and a child molester, we need to ask ourselves if those words are truly representative of the person we are giving those terms to.
In the case of Brett Sutton, a 27-year old coach who abused his position of authority as a coach with a 14-year old swimmer is wrong and will never be justified! But to call Brett a predator, child molester now after 27 years of showing he is anything but that, after 27 years of coaching some of the most public female athletes of our sport’s history, athletes that love Brett and athletes that don't like Brett. Female Athletes that have giving him their whole trust and have placed their careers in his hands and whom today say all kinds of things when talking about Brett, some good, some bad, BUT NONE have ever called him a child molester, a predator or rapist. In the contrary EVERY SINGLE one of these female athletes have said the contrary. Every single one of these female athletes knew about his past at the get go, not in retrospect.
Thus, we can say that Brett Sutton committed a horrible mistake, but that he one day as a 27 year old young man premeditated to go on an rape someone, no one will ever say this, not his endorsers or his attackers if we all seek truth.
It’s hard for me to understand, or anyone who has ever taken the time to know the man, to ever look at him in the light that his attackers look at him. Its sad that in a world where we have all fallen short of what is expected of us, in a world that everyone, without exception, has done things in their youth that we regret with all our hearts, in a world where convicted murders are set free because the system says that they have changed, in a world where we would like to think that every human being is owed another chance, we cant forgive, or even look deep at all the facts, and give a broken man a second chance.
What we need to be asking ourselves is what has happened in the 27 years since Brett chose not to defend himself (going against the advice of many around him at that time), chose to suffer the consequences of his actions for life. What we find is a simple broken men with a great gift to create great athletes but more important to care of about them as human beings. A coach who has invested in the lives of hundreds of athletes, great ones and mediocre ones at the same time, and for WHAT? Riches, well, I am here to vouch that Brett Sutton lives in a humble apartment and drives a car that the majority of us would not be caught dead in and not enough money for his wife to pay two months of bills should he pass. A man who does what he does simply because he loves our sport and loves people. This is not a predator, this is not a child molester this a broken human being who made a horrible mistake, and who has lived 27 years after this mistake in the pain of hearing these horrible titles given to him.
I have learned the internet is both a great tool and also a devastating weapon that can be used on people who can not defend themselves. This forum is at times a very good example of the dangers of that weapon, as articles of the past are freely passed as if it happened yesterday, while in fact it was 27 years ago. You can say “hey it happened!” and I respond “Yes it did, and it’s said it happened!” But people, if people no matter what they did are not given a second chance, if we can’t open the door to our heart to any one that made a mistake, then those people should ask themselves if they never made a mistake and if they would not want to be forgiven for their sins likewise.
God knows that we will all be judged by our actions and how we impact the live of another human being for the good or the bad. If what Brett did he had done again, just one more time, I would not ever be associated with him, but as hard as it was for me to learn what he had done, it has been a journey to know this man and every day be impacted by the quality of human being he is.
I ask everyone here today to ask themselves if their life is so pure, clean and beyond reproach that we have the right to attack the character of another simple, broken human being who made a horrible mistake, and not justify it, nor defended himself but admitted the wrong, took the penalty, suffered and suffers the consequences and for 27 years has shown us everything and anything but that he is a child molester or predator. Where does forgiveness begin, where does redemption begin, we who attack and accuse others with such malignancy must know that one day we will be in that same mirror.
Before I finish, I like to ask the same people who had the guts to explore a bit deeper than most such as Brandon March, Jordan Rapp or Johnny O, who now get beaten up or attacked too because they so called “support Brett Sutton”.
These 3 guys all explored much more who this guy Brett Sutton REALLY IS, what he stands for, what he does in life, what he does for other people and then they objectively try to put a bit of perspective into the conversation. What do they get back? They receive total disrespect, rage, anger and all sorts of rocks thrown to their heads.
Like me they are NOT approving of Brett Sutton’s past, they just tried to look beyond the perceived problem and got into contact with this man themselves and simply experienced he is a guy who passionately helps people who like him to help. The have seen this broken man happened to understand one trick really well, and that is to help people become the best they can be and in the process he created more champions than any other coach in this sport.
I personally have never met Jordan and we never emailed or spoke. I read his posting and think he is a very smart and gifted human being. So does he write about Brett Sutton because he is not smart enough to see the problem of the past? Does Jordan talk with a little bit of more understanding about Brett because he needs Brett or his coaching skills? Does Jordan just think a bit deeper and further about life? Has Jordan experienced something not many people have in this life, which is a near death experience, that when he survived enabled him to look life from a slight different perspective?
I don’t have the answer, but just like me Jordan will for sure NOT APPROVE what Brett Sutton did in the past. But Jordon did OPEN THE DOOR TO HIS HEART for a man he had heard about from various sources he respects, who all had direct personal interaction with Brett Sutton and who all explained him that Brett had positively impacted their lives in one way or the other.
With one email, I can invite and possibly convince about 20 of the world’s best female triathletes come out in public on this forum to explain who Brett Sutton really is, what this broken man has meant for them in this life and these would be the very same female athletes that are adored by so many triathlon fans around the world including the majority of this forum users.
But what’s the point to hurt athletes or females to people who just love throwing rocks, who never took the time like people such as Johnny O, Brandon Marsh, Jordan Rapp or myself to learn more about this broken man, who in fact are so cold hearted that it scares me at times to even come and watch some of the forum messages I read here.
I have come clean today with forum users who are a victim, I simply honor you and hope you too can turn your fear into power, and pain into passion. I hope you understand I do not disrespect what happened to you nor to my own wife, I have learned first hand the pain these experiences can cause. I work with Brett Sutton, because I know he is NOT a repeat offender. I work with him not for commercial reasons, but to impact live of people in need. I hope you too can overcome the pain and grief of your past experiences and if ever we meet let me know if I can help.
For the eternal cynics and rock-throwers beyond comprehension on this forum, don’t worry about your response, this is the last time I have ever wrote a post or visited this forum, as there are so much better ways to spend my time in a meaningful manner. I just pray for you to never face what Brett Sutton experiences every few days, as if only you knew, you would not wish that to your worse enemy.
To the victim of Brett Sutton and her family, I hope you accept what I wrote today about Brett and the rational for working with him, as I believe YOUR pain has driven Brett to become a better human being than most will give him credit for, he truly is sorry for what has happened to you as a result of his actions, but in the process he has impacted so many peoples lives with his passion, life experiences and wise insights. I wish you happiness and peace in your life.
Yours in Sports