By Mick Holien
If you have often shared this corner with me you have probably heard me talk about how much sports mirrors life and in fact I have offered it can easily be seen as a kaleidoscope.
And I remain convinced all levels of seemingly every sport share such implications.
And in sharing that observation I refer to the dark side of athletics as well of course as the positive side.
There seems to be an increased frequency of negative situations but certainly none more concerning than the situation at Michigan State University.
Just a bit of background since the story is so widely reported but I encourage you to read a brilliant story by Mina Kimer (Aly Raisman Takes the Floor) in the Heroes edition of ESPN The Magazine. Out now.
Dr. Larry Nassar, a physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State , was sentenced to life in prison (175 years) after being convicted of a variety of charges involving the sexual assault of athletes under his care over decades. At his trial 156 women came forward to tell now the world they were molested, some for years and some far younger than others.
This week’s ESPY Awards included the appearance of a stage-full of women who finally got the attention of the power-that-be resulting in Nassar, after decades of abuse, finally being brought to justice.
Most compelling IMO was Olympian Aly Raisman, one of three speakers, who spoke forcibly and emotionally about how just one person believing these women could have put a stop to such abuse and prevented a myriad of additional victims.
Yes one person, but for years only pigeonholing complaints by justifying the treatment, even encouraging his behavior because after all he was a Doctor and a well respected one at that.
One person had to believe.
The women’s appearance was preceded by an unprecedented screen warning that the featured material was not suitable for youngsters viewing.
So here we have our kids, expecting to see their sports heroes honored, basically being told to shut down or walk away from the television.
It this where we have come – reference Penn State – but here’s hoping such publicity and punishment draws back that protective enabling curtain that exists behind the closed door of athletics.
Just one person.
And then we have the case of University of North Carolina head football coach Larry Fedora who decreed at SEC Media days that there is not sufficient evidence that CTE is caused by football injuries to the head.
ESPN Analyst Paul Finebaum put it in the proper perspective Thursday encouraging coach to spend some time in the Institution’s library where thousands of journals make the compelling case.
But he went even further treating the increased presence of the game, which he views is under attack but struggled to say from who or what akin to maybe a worldwide Nato Peace Accord escalating the game’s importance to an unfathomable level..
Watching the follow-up reporting should make more enticing reading, viewing and listening.
Make no mistake about it – sports in general and certainly football in particular play a prime role along with coaches in the overall development of our youngsters.
But to make such an absurd statement about the games importance is pure poppycock and quite frankly to hear it from the lips of a college administrator is embarrassing.
Over the years I have seen coaches and administrators step out of their spectrum but never quite to such an extent.
Certainly a CTE continued discussion is warranted and there will be differences of opinion I’ll give you that but the importance of football to the general good well that was just silly.