Things Are Happening – May 18, 2018

A. Rhonda

Root-dee-doo. Another ho-hum day in USAG land. Nothing to report here.

Or, except, no, it’s all on fire again. Last night, word came on Marz Frazier’s twitter (you know, where information comes from in an organization where everything’s going fine and the lines of communication are A-OK…) that Kerry Perry asked Rhonda Faehn to resign from her position as senior vice president. Today, Kerry Perry announced that Rhonda is out (not that Rhonda resigned as requested), while saying super transparent things like, “This is a personnel matter that we will not discuss in detail.”

And she only used empowered twice. Per sentence.

So a couple things with that. Maybe more than a couple.

1) Whether or not you agree with the public majority of current national team members who say they want Rhonda to stay (honestly both camps have valid arguments here), it’s seriously a problem when those inside the national team feel so ignored, misunderstood, and shut off from the seats of power that they have to turn to social media to get the organization’s attention. While it’s great if gymnasts actually feel they can express personal thoughts on social media and scream them from the rooftops nowadays, they shouldn’t have to.

It’s not a sign of good leadership. Decisions made, no matter how unpopular, need to be communicated, explained, and justified to those in the organization whom they affect the most. If people are running to social media in search of public justice, you aren’t doing your job and are responsible for any ensuing controversy. You made this happen.

And now we’ve learned this.

“WE WANT YOU TO HAVE A VOICE BUT YOUR VOICE IS WRONG GET RID OF IT.”

The good guys team doesn’t have to be a completely united front with one opinion. And conflicting goals (“I WANT TO COMPETE,” “I WANT JUSTICE”), even within the good guys team, are going to cause friction and upset and misplaced blame all around. That’s natural and, while certainly not ideal, fairly inevitable. It doesn’t mean thoughts need to be immediately removed if not part of “WHAT WE THINK.”

2) As for Rhonda, the timing here sure is weird, happening in the middle of a national team camp that she was running. At a normal organization, you would think, “Wow, she must have done something horrible, just now, that required immediate action to disrupt the only actual national team camp of the year so far and render it a completely unproductive mess.”

But it’s USAG, so our baseline assumption will be that it just reflects a compete lack of planning and awareness, and a seat-of-the-pants reactionary decision-making. Translation: it’s entirely a PR move with Kerry Perry testifying before Congress next week and needing to seem like she’s doing something.

Word that Rhonda was among five people fired, including the SafeSport director Toby Stark, lends credence to the idea that Perry just wants to be able to show up to Congress and say, “Look I’ve cleaned house!” It feels very last-ditch and unsurprising. And it will inevitably backfire on her because soon there will be no one else to deflect public anger. When things remain awful and unfixed, it’s all on her.

3) As for the merits of the firing itself, I’ll repeat a little bit of what I said last time we did this. Until we know exactly what was done by which people after learning about That Guy, it’s impossible for us to make a categorical proclamation about who did the right thing, who did not, what degree of wrong-things were done, or what people’s true intentions were. We don’t have all the information.

That’s particularly true in Rhonda’s case. Because no one seems to know what to do with her. At various points, Rhonda has seemed like a solid performer in this—if she hadn’t started at USAG in the spring of 2015, and been there at camp for Sarah Jantzi to report to, and taken it to Steve Penny, would That Guy have continued working with USAG for even longer?—or part of the problem, someone who didn’t report to law enforcement and sat idly by while nothing was being done to protect athletes from him in the 2015-2016 period, despite knowing what she knew. The circumstances defy a simple categorization. Because it’s real life.

And how much should pragmatism weigh? I believe a lot of the current-athlete unrest comes from seeing Rhonda as the one person who’s keeping their opportunities on track through this whole mess, doing the most work to bail the water out of the sinking raft and balance the “change everything and fire yourself” crowd with the “business as usual” crowd that’s still very present in USAG. Should current actions matter? Or do past failures make that irrelevant? I don’t have a good answer to that.

It’s perfectly valid here to say that the non-reporting and the sitting-idly-by are the parts we know for sure, that they’re determinative, and that Rhonda and anyone at USAG who knew about That Guy in the interim period between May-June 2015 and the IndyStar in March 2016 and did not independently go to law enforcement (as they should have) has to be removed because they are indirectly responsible for more abuse. That all makes total sense.

Now, the fact that they didn’t know to go directly to law enforcement was a failure of insufficient training—and the fact that sending it up the ladder ended up being totally worthless is a failure of Steve Effing Penny—both of which turn right back on the organization itself, but it’s still a serious failure that people can be held accountable for.

Yet, if that’s the standard, then it needs to be the standard. It has to be applied categorically. Right now. To everyone. The haphazard way this has been done, one at a time, with little apparent rhyme or reason, suddenly now on the eve of Perry’s testimony, tells me that there has been no actual standard in place. No plan or comprehensive approach. They can talk all they want about moving forward, but what direction and when?

Because what happens now? Who’s in charge in the interim? Steve Rybacki? That absolutely wouldn’t qualify as “moving forward.” If you’re finding Rhonda culpable, then don’t you have to find someone like Steve Rybacki culpable as well? He’s sure been there a hell of a lot longer and seen a hell of a lot more.

So then would we just wait until that gets pointed out again and again, and then someone tells Kerry Perry who Vanessa Atler is, and then Rybacki gets asked to resign too, and we start this all again? Oh goody.

Want to fire everyone? Fine. You are justified in doing that. Want to fire no one else? OK. That makes sense too. But do it. Now. Give your reasons, and apply them to everyone.

Also, if you’re firing all these people, you probably need to fire yourself too. You’re the worst one.

4) One can also make the argument (based on what we know right now) that Rhonda and others at USAG weren’t the big-bads in all of this and would have been very capable of learning from the mistakes made and moving forward as more vigilant and informed leaders from here on.

That approach has a reasonable basis and appeared from the outside to be what USAG was doing, because Rhonda still had a job until now. If you’re actually firing Rhonda for not reporting to law enforcement, why didn’t that happen back when we learned that information? Is there someone else we don’t know? Or are you just being a total USAG?

All of these questions reflect how little trust there is in USAG to forge a clear, reasonable path forward and do it with intention and logic. One of the most important tasks for Perry as the new CEO was restoring trust in the organization. Wherever you stand on Rhonda, clearly all of this speculation and second-guessing reveals that no one actually trusts USAG to do the right, responsible thing or have real reasons for doing anything.

5) OK. So that’s what I have. At least until five minutes from now when something else happens.

6) Maybe not related to anything: Part of the overall “cultural problem” we talk about that led to the current situation in gymnastics is the knee-jerk assumption that younger women are flippant and shallow, their concerns obviously frivolous and views uninformed. See: how all of us assumed that complaints about lack of internet/phone service at the ranch were solely related to “WE WANT TO TEXT BOYS INSTAGRAM LOL” rather than “I’m being sexually and verbally abused and need a trusted outlet.” Or how, you know, literally everyone who reported That Guy to an adult wasn’t believed because “you don’t know anything and you must have misread it, you dumb girl who’s obviously just making trouble.”

That attitude is wildly ingrained in gymnastics. The old-school coaching approach says that teenage women are hysterical, easily distracted, out for attention, and fundamentally not serious enough for the Olympics, that they must be first and foremost controlled, that their personalities need to be completely changed and re-sculpted in order to have the “focus” (elite-synonym for silence) necessary to become “coachable” (elite-synonym for docile and unthinking, even in the face of mistreatment). This thought process says members of the national team are surely not serious enough—too insignificant, too young, too flighty—to be informed of decisions or the reasons they’re made, or to be trusted to have opinions about it that are allowed to see the light of day. They just don’t understand. The lack of communication to the athletes in this case, and reactions to their statements—whether you agree with them or not—tells me this garbage manner of thinking is alive and well, and the athletes are still being dismissed.

B) Are there other things also?

Sort of. They’re kind of overshadowed now.

There was supposed to be a national team camp happening at Flip Fest right now, one that featured Simone’s return to make everyone all EEEEE SIMONE, but then Rhonda was fired yesterday and the following training sessions were canceled, so bloop I guess that’s nothing?

C) Better news

The survivors will be receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year’s ESPYs.

Good call. Now, just find a way to make sure they have names that are more prominent than That Guy’s. Because in this announcement, you used his name twice and their names zero times. You identified him by name, but Tiffany Thomas Lopez is just an unidentified face in this picture. It’s not a good look.

But overall, well played.

D) Also better news

For your blood pressure.

#gymnasticssuccesschallenge

A post shared by Trinity Thomas (@gymtrin) on

Yes, that’s Trinity Thomas doing a 2.5 to double layout.

Later next week, we’ll also get into the run of spring national championships, including Canadian and Australian championships, as well as the Osijek World Cup, so there will be some actual competition gymnastics to distract us.

E) NCAA coaching

To wrap up some older coaching news, Umme Salim-Beasley has taken the open head coaching job at Rutgers. It’s not a surprise: Salim-Beasley is one of the biggest rising stars in the coaching world, having led Temple to record score after record score and dramatically improving the team’s quality in her time as head coach there. Salim-Beasley was also an assistant at Rutgers before moving to Temple, so it felt sort of inevitable.

We also learned the reason for Charlie Tamayo’s mid-season firing at Georgia: unauthorized use of a credit card. OOPSIES.

F) GymCastic

It’s commissioned episode season, and we’re back with THE GYMCASTIC OLYMPICS, wherein we select our all-time Olympic teams, say who would win (it’s me), and plan our dream Olympics.

#SwissNordicDriedFish

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44 thoughts on “Things Are Happening – May 18, 2018”

  1. How dare you have a nuanced opinion ?!?! *sarcasm*

    But seriously this is very well thought out and shows how complex this is and that there isnt really a “right” and “wrong” side. (because this situation has wayyyy more than just a right and a wrong in it) Thank you for this.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It might not be authority but rather influence. I’m guessing Jordan possibly filled them in other details.

        Did anyone notice if Simone posted the original we want Rhonda message?

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      2. Because their social media is all monitored in NCAA and if you don’t like that now, good luck once you get to the school….the “coach” is just letting her future athletes know that their next 4 years will be what the college wants to be seen on their social media..

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    1. All I can think is if I was a coach of a survivor who is now feeling like she is being attacked by the current national team, I might ask them to rethink their posts.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I see two options. One – a coach who knew the secret “details” of Rhonda’s firing and communicated it to the gymnasts who agreed with the decision and withdrew their support of her by deleting their posts. Or Two (more likely imo) – a coach with a financial or other stake in the firing who disliked the gymnasts’ use of their voices because see Spencer’s analysis on “focus” and being “coachable” above.

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      1. It’s pretty obvious which coach it was, which makes it likely that there’s a third option: this coach felt that these gymnasts’ social media posts were hurtful to her current team members and staff, and asked them to take it down out of respect to their team environment, as some of these gymnasts will be joining that team in the next few years.

        I think the real issue is whether the coach forced them to take it down, or was able to explain to them why the posts are inappropriate in a way that they could agree with.

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    3. I think if you look around and look at who deleted their social media entirely after being a spokesperson and leader for the gymnasts, you can figure out pretty easily who the NCAA coach is. Which is wildly disappointing.

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      1. I had similar thoughts about who the NCAA coach probably was, but I also think that it might have been less of a dictatorial censorship issue, and more of a request for them to think about 1) how their vocal support of Rhonda might come across to their fellow gymnasts who suffered the abuse, and 2) the ramifications their social media posts could have on their careers, on the national team and within NCAA. Teenagers don’t automatically see the broader or long-term picture when they issue a heated social media post, so I would be willing to give the coach the benefit of the doubt that she was operating in a mentoring capacity. If it were my daughter, I would have done the same.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. how do we know FOR SURE it was Miss Val and not just an assumption based on the circumstances and what we know?

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  2. Read the most recent Indy Star article. According to the article both Aly And Maggie told Rhonda directly of the abuse and Aly provided “graphic details” to Rhonda . USAG’s timing is horrible there is no doubt about that. However even if Rhonda only has good intentions she still made a mistake by not following through nor following up with the information that she had. This is a situation where you go above anyone you have to to ensure the safety of a child And you don’t stop until you ensure that every child is safe

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m torn on this as well. If I put myself in Rhonda’s shoes I’d probably do the same thing. She told her CEO boss and I’d assume she was under the same impression that he was doing something about it just like Aly and Maggie’s mom did. Penny was playing them all along, it’s possible he was doing the same with Rhonda(or maybe that’s just wishful thinking). She seemed to be good for the team in today’s environment but who knows what really went on. The whole situation conti uses to be a mess.

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  4. I wonder if some of the current USAG seniors will just throw their hands up at this mess and decide working to go to the 2020 Olympics just isn’t worth it and head to NCAA for an education and to have fun again.

    Other than Simone it could be all 2020 first year seniors going to Japan. (Ie: gymnasts that are currently juniors)

    Do you think Rhonda will head back to NCAA coaching? If yes, where?

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    1. Do you think an NCAA team would invite whatever the heck is going on with Rhonda and a sex scandal onto their campus? I would think she’s going to be damaged goods for a while as I would think boosters , administration and alumni would have a tough time backing a potential coach with this murky situation and stay away…

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      1. I agree. I was one of the people who supported Rhonda’s keeping her job at USAG for the stability of the current team. With that being said, now that she’s gone I’d like to see her spend a year away from the gymnastics community so that those who feel hurt by her actions can heal and more of the legal stuff can play out. I also think time away would help Rhonda reflect on, process, and learn from her role in this awful situation.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. No. I think if you have a legitimate shot at the Olympics you are so goal oriented you will let nothing get in your way. This is a small inconvenience compared to the actual abuse girls went through to achieve their dream. Irritated, mad – yes. Quitters – no. If they look at the competition and think they won’t stack up – that is different – quite because of this crap – don’t see it.

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  5. Thank you Spencer for the recap, once again a great job.
    I just want Rhonda to finally comment on this.
    On one hand, not going to authority is not excusable. Even if you say that she wasn’t trained enough what to do in these situations – everyone knows that if something likr this happens, you go to police. Period. I dont care about hierarchy in the organisation. The sooner the better.
    On the other hand, I believe the current national team members that they honestly want Rhonda to stay. They believe the system, they want to have those camps because it helps them to get better and achieve their dreams. They already lost their national team coordinator and now they lose Rhonda? Who will be in charge? What will happen? There are so many questions, they are being left in the dark.
    One more point – I don’t think the current team is doing it to attack the abuse survivors. They are just saying their opinion. Isn’t what we want them to do? Time after time we hear that the girls on national team are told not to think by themself, that they are controlled all the time. And for the first time they do something, they express their opinion and they are told it’s wrong… Great situation to be in. I wouldn’t be shocked if someone just retires to get out of this sick environment.

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  6. “6) Maybe not related to anything: Part of the overall “cultural problem” we talk about that led to the current situation in gymnastics is the knee-jerk assumption that younger women are flippant and shallow, their concerns obviously frivolous and views uninformed. See: how all of us assumed that complaints about lack of internet/phone service at the ranch were solely related to “WE WANT TO TEXT BOYS INSTAGRAM LOL” rather than “I’m being sexually and verbally abused and need a trusted outlet.” Or how, you know, literally everyone who reported That Guy to an adult wasn’t believed because “you don’t know anything and you must have misread it, you dumb girl who’s obviously just making trouble. That attitude is wildly ingrained in gymnastics. The old-school coaching approach says that teenage women are hysterical, easily distracted, out for attention, and fundamentally not serious enough for the Olympics, that they must be first and foremost controlled, that their personalities need to be completely changed and re-sculpted in order to have the “focus” (elite-synonym for silence) necessary to become “coachable” (elite-synonym for docile and unthinking, even in the face of mistreatment).”
    While I agree with Spencer’s points here 100%, let’s not pretend that this part of the cultural problem is only limited to elite, because these attitudes are also VERY common in many NCAA and J.O. programs. Many gymnastics coaches still feel completely justified in their efforts to closely monitor and control ALL aspects of their athletes’ lives. Gymnasts continue to be held to much higher standards of “acceptable behavior” outside of the gym than athletes of most other sports.

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  7. Rhonda at minimum was told about Nassar and went right on working for USAG for years while nothing happened to him. It doesn’t matter if she wasn’t well-versed in what to do under muddy USAG guidelines. If a kid tells you they are being abused, you go to the police. You don’t sit around and hope your boss handles it when every piece of evidence says that boss is doing nothing at all. That’s common sense. She messed up and should not be working with the gymnasts. She should have been gone a long time ago. The way she was let go was overly dramatic and done as publicly as possible, but it is ridiculous that anyone believes she should have kept her job. She saw what she wanted to see and turned a blind eye to everything else so she could keep working.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. what evidence did she have that her boss was doing nothing? she just got hired as VP of coaching when maggie’s coach came to her so how should she know about USAG’s history when the athletes, coaches and fans didn’t know either? She wasn’t in an executive position to get corporate files and see that past complaints had not been dealt with (she was always at the ranch and her status as a coach wouldn’t have gained her access even if she was at headquarters). She immediately started the first serious probe USAG has ever done with these types of accusations, interviewed athletes, handed over her findings to Penny so that he could give it to the FBI. It’s not her fault Penny took six weeks to give it to the FBI. A part of the problem is that now the girls know what abuse looks like, but when they were interviewed by Rhonda they only described receiving weird treatment and Rhonda made certain to ask explicitly what he did so that she could be sure Nassar was doing something not medically necessary. In the beginning no one was thinking, is this abuse? they were asking what sort of treatment he was giving. Penny did a fake internal investigation but eventually handed it over to the FBI. All along he’d been telling Rhonda, don’t worry things are being handled. Larry Nassar would still be with USAG if not for Rhonda Faehn. Countless girls tried to bring him down in the past. It took someone who cared about the girls to suspend him, interview girls, start an internal investigation with the intent to contact authorities. It was the FBI who muddled things and told everyone to wait on them while they figured their life out (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/sports/nassar-fbi.html). What could Rhonda do if the FBI, higher up than police, and her boss says they’re dealing with it, what do you do?

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    2. Rhonda was still coaching at Florida win April 2015 because she led that team to the NCAA championship. She left UF for the USAG sometime in May or June 2015.

      When you are new to a job you have a lot to learn and basically want to spend the first six months keeping your mouth shut and just learning the processes and personalities and who can and can’t be trusted before making any kind of waves.

      I would give Rhonda a pass until January 1, 2016 – unless there’s some concrete evidence she had in her possession like a videotape of “the creep” assaulting one or multiple gymnasts.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. RF was a SVP and made $300+k per year. It was her job to know the law. I have no doubt that her job description stated somewhere “knows and complies with all local, state and federal laws”. It is in most, if not all, job descriptions these days. Ignorance of the law is no excuse is a very true statement.

    Also, KP is not allowed to comment on personnel matters publicly. It would open USAG to another lawsuit. If RF wants to comment, she is free to do so, but don’t hold your breath.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right. She was far too senior to have “I told my boss” be adequate. And inadequate policy at USAG is no excuse either; she had responsibility for that too. She was too new to have rewritten anything, but she certainly had the standing to respond as was actually appropriate, rather than just following someone else’s piece of paper.

      And someone who was a peer of Doe Yamashiro and coached one of Marvin Sharpe’s athletes could not be naive about this.

      I don’t know how to feel about Rhonda because again, no investigation, but reporting to SP is kind of so-what.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Based on everything I’ve read, Rhonda didn’t violate any laws. Why do you think she did something illegal???

      People need to learn about mandatory reporters. The law doesn’t mandate reporting to police for everyone.

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      1. The jurisdiction issue is huge in this case. A lot of legal experts claim Texas law doesn’t apply because USAG is based out of Indy.

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    3. Everyone says they didn’t report – but I thought they did report to the FBI and the FBI drug their feet and then they followed up with the FBI. I think they waiting too long to follow-up and say what is happening, but I don’t really know what level or how often they communicated with the FBI. Just going on published timelines in newspapers. Now with all the possible legal fallout in today’s world, if you reported a crime to the FBI and they told you to refrain from comment so as not impede the investigation, exactly what action would you take? Hindsight in always 20/20.

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  9. Well, did anyone think we could clean house at the USAG and not hurt the current gymnasts? There are two options with two very distinct sets of consequences.

    1. Burn. It. Down. OK, Aly, you get your wish and everyone at USAG who was remotely responsible for the Nassar disaster is shoved out the door. CONSEQUENCES: current gymnasts have no system that will hold training camps and evaluate the national team during these short years of their elite career.

    2. Leave some of the USAG old guard in place to have some semblance of an organization. CONSEQUENCES: some people get away with not reporting child abuse.

    We can’t hold everyone responsible for their negligence and also support current gymnasts. That’s because people are complex–with good and bad sides. Rhonda probably did fail to protect gymnasts in not calling the police on Nassar. However, she is also a good coach and organizer. Aly wants Rhonda punished. The current generation wants Rhonda to stay. I personally think Rhonda’s positives outweigh her past sins. She made a (HUUUGE) mistake, but let’s forgive and admit that no one is perfect.

    Honestly, in getting rid of Rhonda, it seems that once again, the USAG wants to protect itself and its image, and doesn’t care about its (current) gymnasts. Some things never change.

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  10. I wish this whole post could be sent to the congressional subcommittee that Ms. Perry will be testifying for this week.

    We all know what’s going on. Thay don’t. The subcommittee and their staffs probably only know what they’ve seen on the news

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    1. The “holier than thou” attitude of the gymternet is getting really old. What are you doing in your community to combat sexual abuse or physical abuse or mental abuse? These problems have been going on forever in the gym community and fans never said a word and kept supporting USAG and FIG.

      Where exactly are you getting all of your information? The “news” broke the story wide open. Without the Indy Star report, where would we be today? The gymternet is also getting its info from the news and athletes. The Congressional Subcommittee has those same sources and then some. So the idea that you somehow know exactly what’s going on and they don’t is absurd.

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  11. University of Florida was a go to place for retired elite athletes. There’s NO WAY she knew nothing about it. Let’s be honest here. Let’s be really honest. There are girls that she coached that have been hurt by him. Not to mention him being a peer and being at competitions with doe Yamashiro when she would be forced to be alone with Don Peters and Just seeing what it looked like from that aspect. So again come on guys. You don’t have to be a mandated person to call the police either. She didn’t need that job at USAG so if she ruffled feathers to do the right thing then so be it. She could have come back to college coaching. Now she’s damaged goods and it’s going to be hard for her now

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    1. Which UF current or former gymnasts have come forward to being victims of the creep? I don’t recall any (not saying there isn’t one or two) who have admitted publicly to bing one of his victims (yet).

      I have my speculations and I think everyone just looks at NCAA rosters of current teams and ones in the past at the names of former elites and wonders, but until the gymnast decides to go public herself she shouldn’t be dragged into the mess.

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      1. I can’t think of any either who have come forward either and I agree we shouldn’t speculate.

        That said, I don’t think Rhonda’s responsibility has anything to do with her time at UF. Rhonda did two things wrong. She didn’t report to law enforcement immediately. Texas law is not “wait five weeks and do your own investigation”, it is within 48 hours, and it applies to ALL individuals. If USAG was going to hold monthly camps there, they should be learning the laws there and educating their staff and the coaches who go there.

        Second, and this is more of a moral responsibility than a legal responsibility but she knew that Nassar was still treating patients in Michigan and did nothing about it – didn’t notify his current employer, Michigan police, etc.

        I don’t buy the “she told her boss and that was enough” excuse. She was senior enough and this was a serious enough situation that she should challenge her boss. She should have been gone long ago.

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      2. I mean look at Sabrina Vega? No one knew up until a week or two ago. So I’m pretty sure there are other gymnasts like that she has coached. Not to mention the girls that have come to her programs damaged and she helps them love gymnastics again. She’s had to see signs of things going on at the ranch

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      3. Whether there are or aren’t gymnasts she coached that been abused by him, I still don’t think that’s the issue. Look at UCLA and how many gymnasts have come forward who have been part of that program – four so far if you include Wieber. Does that mean Val should have known? I wouldn’t say that, especially given that in many cases the women themselves didn’t realize what he had done to them until recently.

        I think focusing on her time at UF is barking up the wrong tree for two reasons. First, it encourages speculation about athletes who have not chosen to come forward and second, because it distracts from what I view the real issues with Rhonda’s actions are. I.e. not reporting to law enforcement immediately when she definitely knew something was going on and not doing anything to try to stop Nassar from practicing at MSU when she knew there was a problem.

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  12. When you read all the timelines, it appears USAG reported it to the FBI within a little over a month. Should they have done more? I am sure in hindsight they wish they had notified police in Texas where some of the abuse happened. Since what they had knowledge of did not happen in Michigan, not sure if they would have had any reason to report it to police there. All the subsequent abuse happened in Michigan. The police in Michigan had investigated and determined it was a legitimate procedure and there was no abuse. Remember the, “oh we apologize” from the police department? I get that people are mad that things didn’t move faster, but in my mind the biggest fault with USAG is the culture that kept these girls from saying anything to begin with. That it only got reported because a coach overheard a conversation and followed up is a sign of the unhealthy environment that existed. While the abuse is/was horrific focusing on mitigating further abuse ( while important) missing the bigger problem – the culture of compliance and no complaining because there are many waiting to replace you.

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  13. USAG basically poisoned the well in how this was handled. Problem #1 was allowing the Karolyi’s to create an environment that basically groomed the athletes for mental/emotion abuse and borderline physical abuse. At that point they became an easy target for a sexual predator. The Maroney interview basically described textbook progression of abusive behaviors. Then when the abuse became apparent they tried to ‘manage’ it as opposed to turning it over to professionals. The fact that some of the ‘pros’ were inept added to the problem since they were in no way policing themselves. I have to wonder if the Karolyi’s recent interview might have also ramped up scrutiny of the timeline.

    As far as these firings/investigations troubling the current gymnast, so effing what. Someone should not be denied justice or the being made whole because it is inconvenient. Should we have put off disbanding segregation because it made a lot of white people uncomfortable? And should rapists be let off the hook when their wives/daughters are hurt by the reality? Or not hold thieves accountable if their mothers are Sunday School teachers who are embarrassed? No.

    If truth be told heads should have rolled sooner across the board. And whoever was providing legal advice about when/when not be speak needs to be heavily scrutinized. If they were suggesting to ignore any mandatory reporting laws they need to be brought to task as well.

    Like

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