After watching and reading ESPN’s comprehensive report on the alleged sexual misconduct within Michigan State the football and basketball programs, my first thought was compassion for the victims.
How could these misdeeds take place? And how could the system protect the perpetrators so unblinkingly? The behavior that was tolerated in those men’s programs, combined with the unspeakable crimes of gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar paint an appalling picture of Michigan State athletics.
My second thought? Is this worse than the Penn State scandal?
Before I could decide, I caught myself saying, “Has it really come to this? That the worst possible behavior, protected by the highest authorities at major universities, is so common that it’s time to rank scandals?’’
So let’s not focus on which is the worst. Let’s simply agree that they both are unacceptable. And yearn for simpler times when academic fraud or recruiting improprieties seemed like the worst things.
The real questions are: How do these things happen? How do we not have safeguards in place that nip this kind of depravity in the bud, rather than let it fester and grow for years.
The answer I come back to is this: We love our sports so much that we have created a monster. Or monsters, if you will.
The money is so huge, the stakes are so high, that anything that stands in the way of success—of winning, and the dollars that come with winning—is swept under the rug, ignored, covered up. Choose your phrase. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.