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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint – Nassar scandal points to systemic problem

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The Collegian Logo

By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief

In light of Larry Nassar’s sentencing trial last week, two things are clear: The sexual predator doctor is a monster who deserves what’s coming to him, and USA Gymnastics, one the most prominent youth sports organizations in America, is complicit in Nassar’s serial molestation of young women.

So far, the organization has lost sponsors from Under Armour to AT&T, and the U.S. Olympic Committee has demanded all board members step down. All of this is warranted because the moral corruption that prioritized money and medals over athletes’ safety is what led to ignoring allegations of sexual abuse and why Nassar was allowed to hurt so many.

But he is not the only abuser that’s been allowed to prey on young gymnasts for decades.

In 2016,  The Indianapolis Star investigated USA Gymnastics and discovered the organization had followed a practice of not reporting all sexual abuse allegations against its coaches. It revealed that 368 gymnasts spoke up about being sexually abused over the last 20 years.

The findings of The Star’s investigation were supported by the countless victims who spoke at Nassar’s sentencing and pointedly noted they had come forward for years and were silenced.

This is a case of gross negligence.

USA Gymnastics says it will examine what happened and change its policies, but policies were in place that should’ve prevented this. In fact, one existed that forbade physicians from being alone in a room while conducting exams or treatments on young athletes. So for Nassar to have done just that for 20 years makes it obvious that the policies weren’t the problem. The people in charge of enforcing the policies were.

The USOC demanding the board of directors resign was an important step toward redeeming USA Gymnastics. They perpetuated the culture that allowed predators in the organization to repeatedly prey on young athletes. So, they, too, are guilty and put the safety of future gymnasts at risk.

Completely disbanding the organization could risk the careers of athletes currently competing through USA Gymnastics, but those issues can be resolved.

Sometimes, it’s better to light a match, burn the place down and start fresh.

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