Nassar sentencing hearing shows need for humanity in conference rooms

This is THE conference room filled with Michigan State trustees who needed to stop pragmatic machine that allowed Larry Nassar to molest hundreds of young girls.

Anyone who has been in management for a business or an administrator for a university has been there.

“What’s our liability, and how do we limit it?”

That’s the question that is asked and answered anytime legal issues arise because of a wronged employee or customer.

Careers hinge upon finding the correct response, and there are times when humanity is sacrificed to limit financial exposure.  People are praised for their extreme pragmatism more often than not, and bonus checks are cut.

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As we watch and listen to victim statements of the nearly 150 girls and women Dr. Larry Nassar molested during his tenure as a physician employed by Michigan State University Athletics and USA Gymnastics, we hear the rage and pain caused by both Nassar’s attacks and subsequent meetings by well-meaning bureaucrats that prized practicality over humanity.

The seemingly endless parade of those failed and marginalized by so many who had the opportunity to stop the monster in their midst has succeeded in exposing bureaucrats for whom the ends justify the means.

There will be lawsuits that continue to lay bare the miserable practicality that is always the first port in the storm for committees and boards who cling heartlessly to the believe that the desires of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Accountability will come for enough of these haughty gnomes who viewed the emotional wreckage of Nassar’s victims as an acceptable price for perpetuating the facade that all was well that we’ll feel like justice prevailed in the end.  Of course that will be disproven – again.

The truth will be seen in stories like this one that will continue to paint humanity with a broad brush of indifference to evil – if the price is right. Again and again, pragmatism has trumped humanity – with USA Gymnastics, the Catholic Church, our government, and virtually every other organization that trades in trust.

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There are cynics among us who believe empathy is a never-practiced principle unless it’s convenient, and we have a long way to go to prove them wrong.

Shame is abundant for everyone associated with Nassar preying upon the trust of young gymnasts and their families.  It will spread to all of us if we deny our responsibility as human beings to stand on a conference table to shout down pragmatists and champion a lone shattered human being.

Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-7p, and writes about Indiana sports at

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