details of interview

Role of the Interviewed: professional volley player

Age: 36

Gender: female

Nationality: Turkish

Type of radicalization: violence; inequality of opportunity

Historical period collocation: between 90’s and at the beginning of 2000’s

Date/Country of the Interview: 08/12/2018, Turkiye

Interviewer: Hacettepe University

Hacettepe University

Have you witnessed or experienced personal situations of radicalization during your activity in sport organizations? What kind of radicalizations have you detected? (Gender, politics, religion, racism, crime, homophobia…)


I was a volleyball player. None of those mentioned above types of radicalization were evident, and it was hard to notice for all of us at that time. Now, when I think of the inequality of opportunity, implicit physical and emotional violence is experienced intensively in those years. In those years, this was normal for us. I was able to describe our experiences only when I started reading about these topics.
Because we were taught that the most important rule of being a professional athlete at the time was submission to everything and working hard. The coach was the biggest and the only power. We had to do what he said. We should’ve bowed down what he did. Otherwise, we believed we could not be athletes.
Telling your story. What has happened? How has the story started?
It’s hard to tell a single example and a specific story. I think it would be more appropriate to define the general situation. Opportunity inequality, emotional and physical violence was a constant situation, and it was very typical for us. The talented and good athletes would play. Others had to wait mostly on the bench.
I was vaguely exposed to emotional violence. Because I was both talented, hard-working and a good player, but what I witnessed is sad. As I have written before, at that time, I was never aware of them, but now that I think of what happened in the past, I realize that it’s really sad. If I have to make a general statement about what happened in those days; I played on four different teams during my sports career, and the situation was the same in all teams.
Inequality of opportunity was experienced as follows; we were really excited to play volleyball when we were little children. However, in the training and matches, only the children who were thought to have the ability were given a chance, the others were not much interested.
In the grassroot level, especially in training, children who were not thought to be talented do not work with other children and almost never participated in the basic drills. They were not given a chance to show themselves. The athletes who were thought to be talented were not played in their favorite positions but were played in positions where they would be successful. For example, I always wanted to be a setter. I was talented. But players who were thought to be better setter than me were trained as a setter. I was trained as a spiker.
Physical violence was experienced as follows; heavy physical punishments were given after poorly played matches or mistakes made. Besides, a hundred pages would be written that we wouldn’t make that mistake again. In the grassroots level, the coach hit the player’s abdomen or forehead. There was no hit for a penalty after the grassroots level, but there were heavy physical penalties.
Emotional violence was experienced as follows; heavy insults, humiliation, ignoring the player. All the athletes who made mistakes were exposed to the above. These kinds of problems were always present, but for the reasons I wrote above, these are not the problems I have experienced so much.
How did you realize what was going on? What kind of signals could you detect? How do you explain radicalization, referring to your experience?
As I mentioned above, I realized what was going on after I started making readings on these issues.
Have you tried to cope with this situation? What was possible to do? What have you done? Have you involved other people/organizations? Who was involved?
Unfortunately, this situation was unnoticeable to us, and it was completely normal. None of this was seen as a problem and is still not recognized. I think that the only way to deal with these problems is to educate the children, their families and the athletes in the sports environment.
Did you feel you had the skills to manage this kind of situations? Which was the most difficult part of it? Have you had any form of support?
As I said, I’ve almost never been exposed to these behaviors. None of us could ‘not get the support
End of the story. How did the story end up? What have you learned from this personal experience? What would you say to people who are living similar situations?
Unfortunately, the story still does not end in the sports environment. People who have similar situations can do nothing about it. Children, families and especially the coaches need to be trained. Everybody has to change their point of view.
Conclusions. Are there other relevant aspects related to (de)radicalization that you want to highlight?
The only thing I can say about this is to understand the importance of education.
education against violence and inequality