People never want to admit responsibility for causing misery. Maybe there is something in our psyche that just can’t accept that we could have stopped horrible things from happening, and denial is easier than looking in the mirror.
Yesterday, hours after Larry Nassar was sentenced to spend the rest of his miserable life in a jail cell, the president of thew institution where he was employed stepped down as its president.
In her letter of resignation Lou Anna Simon wrote, “As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable.”
I’m sure Simon believes her resignation is the result of a university trying to find a scapegoat to answer the collective noise of alums ashamed by affiliation with a university where these atrocities took place. I’m sure she feels it is unfair for her to awaken this morning disconnected from a workplace she loved.
She didn’t molest any of those hundreds of girls, after all. Had she known, Simon tells herself, she would have stopped Nassar.
But Simon’s resignation isn’t an act of politically driven sacrifice. She’s not bravely falling on a sword as the result of obscenities from which she is disconnected.
Simon’s resignation is required because she is at the top of a food chain at a place where nothing was done when the first and second and third and 64th girl spoke to another university employee about this creep who seemed to derive pleasure from sexually manipulating student-athletes.
A culture of sinister silence was respected because somehow, some way Simon instituted, allowed it, or failed to mandate that it did not exist. Women were told that they “could file a complaint”, but it would be messy for them. For that, Simon – and others – bare responsibility.
That is why Simon is no longer the president of Michigan State University. She failed every victim who followed the first who tried to step up to stop a predator.
Because of that culture of convenient quiet, Simon has been held accountable by her employer, and ultimately will be called to answer to her God.
There should be others – many others – who follow Simon out the door not only because they bear responsibility for the fleeting physical pain and eternally emotional turmoil inflicted by Nassar, but for girls of the future who would be unprotected otherwise.
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 kentsterling.com.