“The survivors are here, standing tall, and we are not going anywhere.” —Aly Raisman
The army: More than 80 women, with the total number expected to surpass 140, have spoken at former national team doctor Larry Nassar’s sentencing, which began last Tuesday and will continue into this week. Hear some of their brave and emotional statements, and watch a live feed of today’s portion of the sentencing. Rachael Denhollander, the first survivor to come forward, is expected to speak last.
Biles, Raisman, and Wieber, along with other survivors, have commented on the failure to protect athletes by USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, Twistars, and the US Olympic Committee.
Justice for McKayla: After news broke that McKayla Maroney could be subject to a $100,000 fine if she chose to speak at Nassar’s sentencing—a violation of her non-disclosure agreement with USAG—model and Twitter hero Chrissy Teigen offered to pay the fine on her behalf. Maroney said Teigen’s kindness made it “worth the decision to speak up.”
In response, USAG said in a statement that it would not seek money from Maroney, saying that she has “always had the right to speak,” but attorney John Manly said “Not true” and blasted USAG for only relenting under public pressure.
Facing him: Survivors are speaking directly to Nassar, who sits in the witness stand next to the judge. Nassar said in a letter that the experience is bad for him “mentally,” but Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who has shown compassion for the survivors throughout the sentencing, isn’t having it.
The deal with MSU
What they knew: The Detroit News found that at least 14 MSU officials were warned of Nassar’s conduct over the course of two decades, including MSU president Lou Anna Simon, who was informed of a police report when Nassar was under investigation in 2014.
Presidential pardon: Pressure is mounting (see: the rock) for Simon to resign, but all but one member of the university’s Board of Trustees continue to support her. At the same time, the board has requested an investigation from the Attorney General into whether complaints were ignored or covered up.
Moron or liar? MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo expressed his support for Simon, also saying that he hopes “the right person was convicted.” The mother we all needed Lynn Raisman wondered on Twitter if he’s “a moron or just a liar.” Izzo later clarified, saying he “used the wrong words.”
Goodbye, Ranch: After mounting pressure to stop sending athletes to the Karolyi Ranch—where many survivors experienced their abuse—USAG ended their contract with the Ranch and canceled this week’s national team camp.
Nastia speaks: In a letter of apology “to anyone who had the perception I was not in complete support” of survivors, Nastia Liukin pledged to donate all proceeds from this year’s Nastia Liukin Cup to a non-profit organization supporting sexual abuse survivors.
She also says that father Valeri Liukin has offered up WOGA as a temporary venue for the national team’s training camps, and later donated $20,000 to the Joyful Heart Foundation.
Account terminated: Nassar’s YouTube channel, which showed young women performing exercises as well as Nassar in physical contact with them, was finally removed.
- Juliet Macur wonders why the US Olympic Committee hasn’t decertified USAG yet (The New York Times).
- Katie Strang on the MSU board’s support of President Simon: “Shame on them” (The Athletic Detroit).
- Katy Waldman wants to know why we’re only paying attention to this now (Slate).
- Jessica Luther is wondering the same thing—this is much bigger than Penn State (Buzzfeed).
- Lindsay Gibbs lists those whom we should consider enablers of Nassar’s abuse, including Twistars and 2012 Olympic team coach John Geddert (ThinkProgress).
This one time in college: Here are recaps of the weekend’s meets.
Teal ribbon week: Teams across the country are wearing teal ribbons to support survivors of sexual abuse. UCLA (with special love for coach Jo), Stanford, Bridgeport, Whitewater, NIU, La Crosse, Washington, Bowling Green, Ursinus, and Lindenwood were all spotted sporting teal.
Nope: My wrist hurts just from watching Stella Savvidou’s one-handed roundoff, though it may be carpal tunnel from writing this recap.
Thanks, Obama: Men’s national champ Oklahoma was forced to cancel their opening meet at Air Force due to #TrumpShutdown.
Meet Preston: He’s the therapy dog that’s comforting survivors at the sentencing. He has a blue necktie, very pupfressional. 18/10 would boop and then cry on.
What you can do
Call your legislator, support women in journalism (and in general…), and support local news outlets (don’t forget that this is all happening because of the Indianapolis Star). Any other ideas? Is there an organization you support? Let us know in the comments.
Yours truly was in Mexico last week, but the news still came through and it was still painful to see. Something keeps bringing me back to this poem. It’s okay to not feel okay right now. Their pain is ours too—and so is their strength.
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