By Ken Reed
Michigan State trustee Joel Ferguson somehow appears to believe that the ugly sex scandal involving team doctor/master pervert Larry Nassar is just another issue at the university. In a recent interview, he seemed to think that “this Nassar thing” could be neutralized by the fact the school’s president, Lou Anna Simon, had done a good job finding major donors for the school’s sparkling basketball palace, the Breslin Center.
“There’s so many more things going on at the university than just this Nassar thing,” said Ferguson.
“When you go to the basketball game, you walk into the new Breslin, and the person who hustled and got all those major donors to give money was Lou Anna Simon.”
What? Are you serious Mr. Ferguson? You can brush off the largest sexual assault scandal in American sports history — more than 150 victims — that easily?
Ferguson also said in the interview that Simon had the full support of the rest of the Michigan State board of trustees as well. This despite the fact that the board had to be aware of a Detroit News report that Simon and other MSU officials had been notified that the U.S. Dept. of Education was investigating complaints against Nassar as early as 2014. Simon never even asked to see a copy of the investigators report.
Also, it’s been reported that 14 Michigan State officials were told about Nassar’s sexual abuse activities. No action was taken. (Simon, thanks in no part to the school’s board of trustees, resigned yesterday amid protests from faculty and students.)
The avoidance behavior utilized to protect an organization’s PR image and bottom line was apparently replicated by USA Gymnastics during Nassar’s reign of terror. According to multiple reports, USA Gymnastics officials also ignored or covered up Nassar’s sexual assault activities.
Larry Nassar was a sick puppy. His behavior is sickening. But the lack of action by Michigan State and USA Gymnastics coaches and officials while this monster continued to prey on young girls and women is every bit as sickening. (Thank goodness Rachael Denhollander, a former gymnast under Nassar’s “care,” had the courage to start the movement that has resulted in Nassar basically being sentenced to life in prison.)
Sadly, people in power, with the responsibility to protect others, too often find it impossible to do the right thing.
New policies and procedures need to be enacted by youth, high school and college sports organizations after this ugly scandal to help ensure something like this doesn’t happen again. But the thing is, Michigan State had policies and procedures on the books that could’ve stopped Nassar a lot sooner. But those policies and procedures appear to have been ignored by MSU coaches and administrators.
If people in power and responsibility lack an ethical and moral compass, all the policies and procedures in the world won’t protect the vulnerable.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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