Editorial: Sexual abuse, sports and a betrayal of trust


January 27, 2018

By the Editorial Board

The voices of the women abused for two decades by Larry Nassar should force all of us to ask and answer: At what price success? At what cost silence?

The latest chapter in the nation’s overdue examination of the abusive power and control men exercise over women came to a conclusion in a Michigan courtroom last week when former U.S. women’s gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison.

The repudiation of his repulsive behavior followed harrowing accounts by more than 150 girls and women who were sexually abused by Nassar. But putting Nassar away for the rest of his life, however satisfying, does not solve this festering problem.

It’s not just Nassar, it’s not just gymnastics, and it’s not just sports.

Sexual abuse scandals have shaken the arts, the media, government, business, the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts. But the problem in sports is particularly instructive.

Nearly 300 coaches and officials associated with the organizations that govern Olympic sports have been publicly accused of sex crimes since the early 1980s. More than 175 individuals have been convicted. More cases have likely gone unreported.

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