Dr. Larry Nassar and the Mayhem at Michigan State

Mark Dantonio

 It’s all so sad. It’s all so heart breaking and heart-rending. Misuse is abuse, and abuse of any kind is wrong. It’s actually sin. And sin, when it’s is finished, brings forth death.

Abuse is iniquity at the lowest level. And we just witnessed another case of abuse in sports. “Michigan State professor and doctor for the American gymnastics team, Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on Wednesday for multiple sex crimes, capping an extraordinary seven-day hearing that drew more than 150 young women to publicly confront him and speak of their abuse.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who had opened her courtroom to the young women, including several prominent Olympic athletes, bluntly made clear that Dr. Nassar, 54, was likely to die in prison.”

The Bible is right, for is speaks of what happened to Nassar:

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

James 1:14-15, New Living Translation

 And if Nassar’s crimes weren’t bad enough, it has now come to light that members of the Michigan State football and basketball teams are accused of sexual misconduct. 

Here’s the story from ESPN:

“The Michigan State football program did not report three instances of sexual assault and three incidents of physical violence, according to a report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines. Outside the Lines reports that at least 16 Michigan State football players have been named in accusations of rape or violence against women since Dantonio took over in 2007.

The report seems to contradict head coach Mark Dantonio’s assertion that there had only been two incidents of sexual assault during his 11-year tenure as head coach.

“We had one incident that involved three people. We had another incident that involved one. We have 120 players usually on our football team,” Dantonio told reporters after four players were kicked off the team and expelled from the university for sexual assault earlier this year.

The details come as part of OTL’s scathing report which details a culture of sexual assault within Michigan State’s football and basketball programs. The university’s athletic department has been in headlines for its mishandling of the Larry Nassar case; Nassar was a faculty member at the university for decades and sexually abused multiple students under the guise of medical treatment during his time there.

According to the OTL report, many accusations of sexual assault were handled by the athletic department, then headed by Mark Hollis, who resigned Friday amid the Nassar fallout. In one instance, Dantonio reportedly handled a sexual assault case by telling the player to talk to his mother about what he did.

The athletic department’s efforts to keep sexual assaults in-house were apparently pretty extensive. When ESPN requested police reports and records for every football and basketball player from ten universities, Michigan State tried to block out the players’ names. ESPN then successfully sued Michigan State for that move, and the names were released.” https://www.si.com/college-football/2018/01/26/michigan-state-football-sexual-assaults-mark-dantonio

Mark Dantonio, Michigan State football coach, said he will not resign following an ESPN report that the school mishandled or ignored allegations of sexual assault against members of the team. Dantonio also said he would not resign, and was there to “look the people” who instigated the reports “in the eye.” https://www.tmj4.com/news/national/spartan-head-coach-mark-dantonio-responds-to-espn-report-about-sex-abuse-at-msu

Wisconsin v Michigan State
EAST LANSING, MI – JANUARY 26: Michigan State Spartans head football coach Mark Dantonio speaks to the media at a press conference before the Michigan State Spartans and Wisconsin Badgers basketball game at Breslin Center on January 26, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State is facing criticism for its handling of sexual assault accusations on campus. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

“…any accusations of my handling of any complaints of sexual assault individually are completely false,” Dantonio said during the press conference. “Every incident reported in that article was documented either by the police or by the Michigan State Title IX office. I’ve always worked with the proper authorities when dealing with the cases of sexual assault.”

Punishment for crime is only right. I just hope that what happened at Penn State does not happen at Michigan State. Joe Paterno was vilified for what he did and did not know of Jerry Sandusky’s abusive behavior, and it sent him to an early grave. Let’s hope that the truth will overcome a rush to judgement at Michigan State.

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Gabby Douglas Survives The Social Media Circus, and You Can Too

Gabby-Douglas-Hair

I’m glad for Gabby. She’s taking a social media malaise, yet she has re-emerged and resurrected her status and her standing because of help from beyond her reach. Movie stars, fellow athletes and others all came to Gabby’s rescue as unknown and unwanted faultfinders heaped and piled on uncalled for criticism about everything from her looks to her hair to her hand not being placed over her heart during the playing of the national anthem.  The heck with her performance, right?  And all she did was her best. 

Gabby Douglas is the decorated Olympic gymnast who won the women’s all around in London. Yet “all” she did was be a part of the “Final Five” who will bring home a team gold medal from Rio. But her individual performance has not been enough to appease some observers on the internet.

Here’s how the Washington Post and the New York Times reported the story:

“After finishing seventh in a field of eight in her lone individual event, the uneven bars, Douglas fought back tears when reporters’ questions about her performance turned to questions about a wide range of criticism that has been directed at her, much of it on social media: about her stance during the playing of the national anthem, her expression in the stands as Simone Biles and Aly Raisman vied for all-around honors, and a perception that she has distanced herself from teammates.

Douglas said she had avoided the Internet while in Rio because of the “negativity,” which she said she didn’t understand.” (Liz Clarke, The Washington Post)

“Douglas, 20, who won the women’s all-around during the London Olympics in 2012, lamented on Sunday that she had been picked apart by people on social media for everything from her appearance — right down to her hair texture — to her behavior during a medal ceremony while the national anthem was being played.

gabby-douglas

“When they talk about my hair or not putting my hand over my heart or being very salty in the stands, really criticizing me, for me it was really hurtful,” Douglas, who is African-American, said, according to The Associated Press.

Even her mother, Natalie Hawkins, expressed frustration with the harsh attacks. “They said she had breast enhancements; they said she wasn’t smiling enough, she’s unpatriotic,” Hawkins told Reuters. After some observers noticed that Douglas looked disappointed while watching her teammates succeed, “it went to not supporting your teammates,” her mother said. Hawkins added: “Now you’re ‘Crabby Gabby.’ You name it, and she got trampled. What did she ever do to anyone?”

The Olympics have always been fertile ground for cutthroat competition and narratives about fallen heroes, but observers on social media can distort those stories and take them to extremes — while still expecting athletes to smile and act gracefully when they lose.

Athletes have never been as accessible as they are right now — especially those like Douglas and Franklin who rely on social media to build a fanbase and share sponsored posts from brands they endorse, like United Airlines and Gillette razors.

That accessibility becomes a double-edged sword when they do not perform as well as they should, or if fans catch a whiff of jealousy, bad behavior or team infighting.

But if we have learned anything from social media’s power to tear down idols, it is that the same tools can be used to build someone back up. By Monday, #LOVE4GABBYUSA was being spread across Twitter by fans who wanted to help Douglas feel better despite the onslaught of abuse.” (Katie Rogers, The New York Times)

douglas-gabby-8716-usnews-getty-ftr_10o53nap1tvv114ije5sgv6vox

So here’s to Gabby and to those who rose to her rescue.  And maybe, just maybe, when you or I see someone being unfairly gang tackled, we’ll rise to their rescue too.