“Athlete A,” the Netflix documentary that tells the awful story of USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s decades of sexually abusing young female gymnasts—perhaps as many as 500 of them—, how he was allowed to continue his crimes after complaints from parents and others, and the young women who finally sent him to prison with their testimony, is both disturbing and depressing. I watched it last night with my wife, who was horrified that she didn’t know the Nassar story.
Ethics Alarms wasn’t as much help as it should have been. Its first full post about the scandal was this one, which, in grand Ethics Alarms tradition, slammed the ethics of the judge who sentenced Nasser to 60 years in prison, essentially a “Stop making me defend Dr. Nasser!” post. I’ll stand by that post forever, but it didn’t help readers who are link averse to know the full extent of Nasser’s sick hobby of plunging his fingers and hands into the vaginas and anuses of trusting young girls while telling them that it was “therapy.”
The second full post, in August of last year, was more informative regarding Nasser, but again, it was about the aftermath of his crimes, not the crimes themselves. That post focused on the the Senate hearings following the July 30 release of the report of an 18-month Senate investigation that found that the U.S. Olympic Committee and others failed to protect young female athletes from Nasser’s probing hands, detailing “widespread failure by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (the “Committee”) and other institutions to keep athletes safe.” Then there was this: Continue reading
An 18-month Senate investigation resulted in a searing report that found the U.S. Olympic Committee—among others— failed to protect young female athletes from sexual abuse. On July 30, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) released the long report detailing “widespread failure by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (the “Committee”) and other institutions to keep athletes safe.”
The effort was sparked by the ugly scandal surrounding Dr. Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics team doctor, who was sentenced to up to 175 years in a Michigan prison after it was revealed i 2016 that he had sexually abused and assaulted hundreds of female athletes.
The report and its contents have not received sufficient publicity in mainstream media sources, and one is left to speculate on why. The Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection found that, from summer 2015 to September 2016, Olympic organizations hid the extent of Nassar’s crimes from the public and athletic community “to the detriment of dozens of women and girls who were sexually abused during this period of concealment.”
Those “other institutions” impugned in the 235-page report included the FBI. “The FBI failed to pursue a course of action that would have immediately protected victims in harm’s way. Instead, the FBI’s investigation dragged on and was shuffled between field offices,” the report states. This was not, as many media reports misleadingly suggest, just a failure of sports organizations. “Hundreds of women and girls were sexually abused by Larry Nassar” when basic competence, concern and diligence in many organizations, including law enforcement, would have saved them.
Observations: Continue reading
“Look, a monkey! Must be racist.”
Two recent incidents at the London Olympics—really, really stupid incidents—-caused me to wonder anew what it must be like to be black in this country, and to despair. I’m not referring to discrimination, exactly. I think a better term would be “unhealthy obsession.” To be black in America is to be automatically a subject of controversy and conflict, and I assume this is a crushing, almost irreducible burden that makes daily life, happiness and sanity infinitely more difficult for African-Americans than for any other group. It appears that the culture, the media, the public, interest groups and government just won’t ever leave them alone to just live.
Here is U.S.tennis star Serena Williams, and she has just won a Gold Medal in singles tennis. Williams, whose passion and effervescence is almost as attractive as her athleticism, does a little happy dance. Not too much of one—nobody could accuse her of preening or taunting like NFL players after a touchdown. And yet she is criticized anyway, by Fox Sports among others, because what looked like just a happy dance to me was really a version of the “Crip Walk,” a hip-hop move adopted by the notorious L.A. street gang, the Crips, about 40 years ago. Since Serena is black, some saw this as a poorly-timed reference to drug-dealing killers, or even glorification of gang culture. Three seconds of a little jig, and suddenly the Olympics is the site of a race incident—and this is an ethics alarm that should never have gone off.
Or should it? The “Crip Walk” is considered so provocative in some neighborhoods that schools have banned it. From that perspective, maybe critics have a point; it might have been irresponsible for an African-American athlete from L.A. to do the move. Williams—I love you, Serena!—brushed off the controversy by saying, simply, “I don’t care.” Still, a pure moment of an athlete’s joy in victory was marred, because the victor happened to be black. Continue reading