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The Deep Six: Some Uncomfortable Questions In The Wake of the Larry Nassar Case

For purposes of brevity, I’m not going to go into the back story; we should all already know it.  As I am wont to say, just in case you live under a boulder in a cave on the dark side of the moon which only gets service from Comcast, follow and read this link before you read any further.

Having said that, now that the 24-hour news cycle has taken a couple of turns, this story dropped off everybody’s radar, but I’m not willing to let that happen without raising some questions I have yet to hear being asked in the “lame-stream” media.  Thanks to the recent school shooting in Florida, there’s a lot of noise being made about “protecting our children.”  In a politically divided country, that debate quickly devolves into the usual “gun control” debate, which has yet to do anything other than to generate a lot of anti-intellectual noise.  That’s because nobody in this country seems to want to talk about core causes of a problem.

That’s EXACTLY what is happening with the Larry Nassar case.  I can’t help but notice this is happening in the wake of this mess, just like it did after the Jerry Sandusky sentencing.  We are quickly losing sight of the core issue, which was summed up perfectly back in 2011 by Matt Millen.

“If we as a society cannot protect our children, then we are pathetic.”

Because we as a society can’t seem to keep our eye on the ball, what happened at Penn State has happened again, and this time on a far worse scale. The reason for that isn’t terribly difficult to see; we don’t ask the right questions, which means we as a society have no shot at the getting right answers.

We could sit here all day and come up with a list of such questions; and we could fill volumes with thoughts on answers.  But there’s one thing that bothers me about this story. Obviously, Larry Nassar is the embodiment of evil, and I can only hope there’s an extra-hot section of hell awaiting him. I can’t imagine what it takes to stand in front of a courtroom full of strangers and speak in illicit detail about how you were monstrously violated; it’s not hyperbole to use the word “heroic” to describe that.

The problem is in this story, and in others like it, I keep seeing people in positions of authority who have consistently failed to live up to the responsibility of that power. Across the spectrum, I see a lot of misguided priorities leading to monstrously wrong responses which are not being corrected by equally misguided responses. What got me started on this is the story circulating about how some of Nassar’s victims are claiming they were forced into signing non-disclosure agreements under which they would not divulge any of what transpired.  The story goes a long way to tell you they could have faced a fine of up to $100,000 for breaking those agreements by testifying in the Nassar case.

At first that sounds heinous, and to be honest, it is.  But to be even more honest, it only scratches the surface of what is horribly wrong here…hence, my uncomfortable questions.

1) Why are such agreements legal in cases like this?

I’m no lawyer, and I’m certainly no politician, but it would seem to me that this would make some easy political hay for somebody to make by introducing legislation and going on the cable-news circuit decrying these sort of agreements.

2) Why does the story which mentions the fines for breaking the non-disclosure agreement never tell us about what the means of reaching those agreements were?

This is where it starts to get ugly.  There are people in this world who would have you believing these girls were made “an offer they couldn’t refuse,” as if Luca Brasi held a gun to their heads while Vito Corleone assured them either their signature or their brains would be on that paper.  As Americans, we embrace an “all or nothing” mentality in our view of the players in any drama, fictional or not.  We like our villians to be completely evil, and we prefer our victims to be cloaked in pure innocence.

That’s why the media loves to portray victims with the “Corleone” narrative, and it’s so much easier to do so against an honest-to-goodness scumbag like Nassar.  But nothing blurs the boundary between “good” and “evil” faster than the term “hush money.”  Let’s strip all the pretense off of this, “non-disclosure agreement” is just a nicer way of saying exactly that.  Some of the very same people who were decrying the fines for breaking those agreements had no problems taking up to as much as $1.25 million to enter into those agreements.

There’s a reason why the people who entered such agreements were for the most part not part of the criminal proceedings.  The agreements themselves aren’t the problem; there’s legal mechanism to illicit such testimony in a criminal proceeding.  The problem is as most trial lawyers will tell you, the minute a victim accepts “hush money,” they pay a price in credibility with a jury. The issue with this is demonstrated in the next question.

3) Many of these girls were minors at the time these agreements were made. What does that say about the parents?

In other words, who “forced” these girls into these agreements? The last question is where the ugliness started.  This question is where it hits a fever pitch…so much so it raises a panoply of other questions.

Which makes you a bigger monster? Trading in the sexual abuse of your own daughter for some cash, or taking a course of action which guarantees somebody else’s child is going to be abused?  It really doesn’t matter, because the parents who were complicit in this are unconscionable pieces of shit.  There’s no other way to describe a parent who upon discovery of the abuse of their child does not go straight to the police.

Think about it.  Accepting the “hush money” means both parts of this question are true.  This is EXACTLY why this problem continues in this country; we insist on putting nuance to things which are incredibly “black and white.” Whenever you read about stories like this, eventually you get to the people who infuse so much other crap into a discussion which should be all about “bad guy gets accused, accusations are found through due process to be true, and bad guy gets his just desserts.”

4) Where was the media in all of this?

A federal prosecutor in Indianapolis was sounding fire alarms about this situation a year and a half ago, but the “lame-stream media” (with the sole exception of the Inidianapolis Star) didn’t bother with this until it became something which could be sensationalized and politicized.  Let’s be honest, journalism in this country sports and otherwise, stopped a long time ago being about breaking stories and became a gigantic exercise in “virtue signaling.”

This was painfully obvious when reporters were hounding Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo over an assistant coach who had been accused and left the program almost a decade ago. For a full week, the guy had to continually say he wasn’t going to make any comments because there was still an investigation occurring. There was one reporter who kept trying to assume the “moral high ground” by spewing garbage like “there’s a lot of people who have a lot of questions, and you’re not giving them any answers.”

That reporter is lucky I’m not Tom Izzo, because my response would have been more like “So, where were you a year and a half ago when there was a federal prosecutor ready to start handing out indictments in this case? Why weren’t you firing questions at people who needed to be questioned then? Could it be because you were too busy advancing a false narrative for kneeling football players? Or could it be because you won’t touch a story until you can use it to show how ‘socially conscious’ you are?  Or is it because once you have a convicted monster to play off of, its way easier to wrap yourself in faux sanctimony by firing accusatory questions at somebody whose already told you he won’t answer them?”

Imagine how much sooner this could have been stopped, how many people would not have been victimized had some reporter started asking questions after the first non-disclosure agreement?

5) Why would anybody lie about something this heinous?

This is a direct result of Hillary Clinton’s vile non-sense about “every abuse victim needs to be heard and believed.” Those last two words are the problem.  First of all, they ring exceptionally hollow coming from the same person who called the women who accused her husband of varying levels of sexual misconduct “trash” and said “no one will believe them.”

But the truly frightening part of this is suggesting an elimination of due process.  Equating “accusation” with “fact” is precisely how you get a “witch hunt,” which by the way is EXACTLY what the #MeToo movement became.  The real danger of such “witch hunts” is that there comes a point where efforts like #MeToo go from something which could have been a huge tool for justice and instead becomes a tool for petty revenge; meanwhile during this transformation real victimization continues.

The sad but simple reality is that the subject of sexual abuse is not without those who “cry wolf.” The Duke LaCrosse scandal and the University of Virginia fraternity case are two examples of exactly such fabrication, and two examples of how due process exposed the truth.

But the question remains why would anybody lie about something as heinous as sexual abuse.  In a world where million-dollar “non-disclosure agreements” exist, the answer should be fairly obvious; money.

6) Why do we expect non-law enforcement entities to do law enforcement duties?

This is the one which for the life of me I can’t get my brain around.  In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, everybody with a functioning cerebral cortex should have been able to see that leaving a criminal investigation up to a university and the NCAA is like going to a dentist who sells miniature ivory statues.

In the Penn State case, the university police department was made aware of Sandusky’s activities on more than one occasion, but the problem was that one of the university officials who was ultimately sentenced to prison time in the matter also happened to be the head of that university police department, hence the cover-up.

In the Nassar case, people are screaming for the NCAA, Michigan State University, and USA Gymnastics to conduct investigations. This is the same mentality the NCAA uses when it allows schools to “self-report” rules violations. That’s a bunch of crap because it’s exceptionally easy to tell the NCAA a bunch of nickel-and-dime crap so they won’t look for the big things a school may have done.  The only thing those three institutions should do is throw the doors open to law enforcement, who can start throwing around subpoenas and tossing people in front of a grand jury.

Internal investigations which result in firings are generally useless because as is what is already happening, once anybody starts taking any heat, they simply quit their jobs.  Once those being investigated are gone, the investigating institution feels as if it got it’s proverbial pound of flesh, and everybody goes on with their lives.  The problem is that in short-attention span America, the act of falling on your own sword immediately takes the heat off, which means you can easily get another job in a year or two once nobody remembers who you are.  That also means that nobody follows through and roots out those people who really should be behind bars.

The American system of jurisprudence actually works pretty well when it isn’t being manipulated for ulterior motives. The problem is it doesn’t work fast, which in short-attention span America means it has no chance to keep pace with a court of public opinion driven by social media.  But the court of public opinion can’t put anybody in prison, and the criminal justice system doesn’t cut checks.

As you read this, you wouldn’t even know the name Larry Nassar unless somebody spilled the beans to a guy with a gun, a badge, and the power to arrest people.  Let that sink in for a moment.  If the people who want internal investigations and firings had their way, Nassar could very well be perpetrating his own brand of evil behind an organizational wall of silence; the mortar between its bricks being good, old-fashioned cash.

Maybe some of those people wanted a briefcase full of “hush money” all their own.

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About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

One comment on “The Deep Six: Some Uncomfortable Questions In The Wake of the Larry Nassar Case

  1. SportsChump
    February 18, 2018

    Wow, Matt Millen once did something right?

    Who knew?

    And I do love your point on non-disclosure agreements. Those should become null and void once people are getting abused as a result.

    Like

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