Michigan reaches $490M settlement with victims of football team doctor

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Former Michigan football team doctor center of latest scandal in Big Ten.

Former Michigan football team doctor center of latest scandal in Big Ten.
Photo:
(AP)

A sin is a sin. Well, that’s what I thought. But, apparently, that doesn’t always seem to be the case when men are the victims of sexual assault.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the University of Michigan reached a $490 million settlement with 1,050 people that were sexually assaulted by Robert Anderson – the football team’s deceased doctor who worked at the school for nearly four decades.

Anderson was employed at the school from 1968 to 2003 and died in 2008. Things were so bad in Ann Arbor that, according to reports, Anderson was called “Dr. Drop Your Drawers” and “Dr. Glove,” as he gave unnecessary rectal and testicular exams. Last year, Bo Schembechler’s son even admitted that his late father knew what was going on after he told his father he was molested by Anderson.

“The University of Michigan has accepted responsibility financially and otherwise for harm that was caused by Anderson to so many young people that could have been avoided,” attorney Jamie White said in a statement. “The university should be commended and not condemned. Most of our clients had a strong love for the university and did not want to see permanent damage, but wanted accountability.”

“It is time for the Michigan legislators to look at why two of the largest scandals in the history of the country — Larry Nassar and Robert Anderson — happened at Michigan’s two largest universities. Other states have addressed this issue. It is time for Michigan leadership to do the same.”

But, this isn’t just a Michigan problem, as the Big Ten has had multiple sexual assault cases, given that Michigan State reached a $500 million settlement with Larry Nassar’s sexual assault victims in 2018. Penn State paid over $100 million to Jerry Sandusky’s victims and survivors. In 2020, Ohio State paid a $40.9 million settlement to the 162 survivors of Richard Strauss – who was their version of Nassar. And in 2021, USC reached a whopping $852 million settlement with the 700-plus women that were abused by the school’s former campus gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall.

That’s a lot, right?

Over the past five to 10 years it feels like sexual abuse/assault has finally started to be taken more seriously, as people, universities, and corporations have been exposed like never before. But, no matter what age or gender the victims are, or what sport they play – if they even play one – these are headlines that should never be overlooked. And in the case of Dr. Anderson’s survivors, it feels as though this one got swept under the rug and didn’t receive the attention that others have in the past.

That can’t happen. Because when it does, it tells of a society that likes to cherry-pick its outrage.

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