US politicians are now getting involved in an effort to avoid a repetition of the Larry Nassar scandal. But questions over funding remains
Has Congress finally taken up the leadership reins in combating sexual abuse in Olympic sports? Or are we seeing just another round of grandstanding to make people think the issue is finally being taking seriously?
Last week, US senators Richard Blumenthal and Jerry Moran released a 235-page report summing up an 18-month investigation into sexual abuse in sports, prompted by the crimes of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. The senators are also releasing a bill that goes far beyond the benign legislation of the past, instead issuing a demand and a threat.
Firstly, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee must give $20m a year to the US Center for SafeSport, the organization set up to stop the sexual abuse of young athletes. The Center opened its offices in March 2017 and got a new CEO in July – Ju’Riese Colón, who has a background in children’s safety issues that critics say previous leaders have lacked.
Secondly, Congress will grant itself power to dissolve the USOPC board and fire staff. Lawmakers could also terminate national governing bodies, such as USA Gymnastics. That organization has been widely criticized for its mishandling the Nassar case, in which dozens of young athletes were sexually abused.