When did advertisers know about the problems with Larry Nassar?

It seems so ironic that the biggest scandal involving a sexual predator of young women who were participants in the Olympic games was just convicted days before the start of the Olympic games in South Korea. The gravity of the crimes committed by Larry Nassar during his tenure with USA Gymnastics are so heinous they may never be fully understood, or analyzed in their entirety. The one question which still remains a mystery is why so many other entities who were informed of the situation never took action (Barry, Kovaleski, & Maur, 2018). The FBI were informed about his activities for almost a year before they became seriously involved with his activities, yet during that time many more women fell prey to this monster (Barry, Kovaleski, & Maur, 2018). Only when this case came to light did advertisers decide that enough was enough (Lam, 2018). AT&T said that they would withdraw their sponsorship after the full impact of the case became all too obvious to everyone involved (Lam, 2018). Only when there was demonstrated responsibility by USA Gymnastics that their house had been put in order, and made sure that this would never happen to athletes again would AT&T, as well as other advertisers be willing to bring back their sponsorship (Lam, 2018). Athletes have spoken out fiercely since these crimes became public stating that USA Gymnastics may need to be replaced as a result of the unfolding events of the past month (Barron, 2018). They may be on the right track to identifying the other accomplice in these crimes since USA Gymnastics would have taken a big blow to loose a client like AT&T, and other media giants who dream about securing a client as big, and as prestigious as the Olympic Games (Lam, 2018). Young female athletes who were abused by Nassar, now totaling 265, stated they repeatedly made their situation known to USA Gymnastics on more than one occasion, and yet nothing was done on their behalf, at least not immediately (Barry, Kovaleski, & Maur, 2018). When the FBI finally was able to view the evidence; videotape of Nassar performing examinations of young athletes did the FBI realize this was a situation where they had missed the warning signs (Barry, Kovaleski, & Maur, 2018). Why did USA Gymnastics take more than a month to notify authorities of the situation? Was it concern about their ability to retain sponsors? And why did the FBI take almost a year to get serious about the investigation? It may be nothing more than the inefficient machinery of bureaucracy losing track of citizens within the system. One thing seems almost certain; the punishment handed down to Larry Nassar is only the beginning of an investigation that will certainly last longer than the time that USA Gymnastics took to notify the FBI of the crimes that were taking place inside its doors.



Barron, D. (2018, January). USA Gymnastics may need to be replaced in wake of scandal. Houston Chronicle [Web news article]. Retrieved from: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/olympics/article/USA-Gymnastics-facing-uncertain-future-as-sport-s-12511479.php

Barry, D., Kovaleski, S. F., & Maur, J. (2018, February). As F.B.I. took a year to pursue the Nassar case, dozens say they were molested. The New York Times [News web article]. Retrieved from: nytimes.com/2018/02/03/sports/nassar-fbi

Lam, K. (2018, January). AT&T suspends USA Gymnastics sponsorship, joining several companies in wake of Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. Fox News [News web article]. Retrieved from: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/01/24/at-t-suspends-usa-gynastics-sponsorship-joining-several-companies-in-wake-larry-nassar-sexual-abuse-scandal.html


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8 Responses to When did advertisers know about the problems with Larry Nassar?

  1. Jan says:

    This case is absolutely outrageous. I believe the final investigation will reveal that a combination of abominations led to this tragedy: Dismissed claims from “just girls”; hero worship of a male doctor; exploitation of ambitious athletes; absence of parents in the training process; a board who put the IOC reputation first above all else; and the shocking ineptitude and failure to act from the Committee, the coaches, the FBI and the University. 200+ cases. High profile young women. In 2017. In America. How did this happen?

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Jan,

      Thanks for reading my post. Yes, this case is completely outrageous, and by all accounts should have never happened. The one story that really broke my heart was the young woman who tried desperately to convince her parents that she was being abused, but because they were friends with Larry Nassar, they refused to accept her explanation. When the truth finally did come out, her father was so guilt ridden about what he had made his daughter endure that he committed suicide. An entire family completely destroyed by one selfish, and sick individual.

      There just seems to be too many loose ends to the carnage created by Larry Nassar, and hopefully an investigation will shed some light on exactly what went wrong, and how the system failed. Many have said they had no idea of what was happening; I think many did.

  2. Lindsay Whelchel says:

    Wow, very interesting topic and very good questions raised. The obligation for advertisers/ brands in the wake of this horrible crime seems to be tricky. Do they react publicly are potentially associate themselves with bad press or do they remain silent and perhaps look worse for doing that?

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Lindsay,

      Thanks for reading my take on this terrible story. I think advertisers are in a tough spot with situations like this as they may have (and probably didn’t) not known about what was going on until it’s too late. Therein lies the problem. They want to take advantage of the benefits of being a sponsor to the big event and reap the rewards when everything is going right. The problem gets sticky when things go sideways and the blame ends (at least partially) on their doorstep. Then they don’t want to be associated with anything regarding the problem. What I found astonishing is the fact that these advertisers hinted that they would return to working with USA Gymnastics if they showed they had addressed the problem. If you’re trying to be sincere, and show the world you won’t tolerate vile behavior from athletic organizations, then cut the cord and walk away. It just goes to show you how irresistible the money, and the televison ratings have become to these companies.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Great post about a sad topic! You perfectly summarized the timeline and depth of emotion of this difficult subject.

    It would be helpful to break posts like this into smaller paragraphs. A giant chunk of text is really tough to read even when it is as well written as this post.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Yes, what a tragically sad situation for all of the lives that have been damaged by this disturbed individual. Sadder still is the fact it went on for so long while more, and more young women were being abused while all the agencies that should have protected them dragged their feet. Completely unacceptable, and unnecessary that this was allowed to happen, and if others are found to be criminally negligent they should face harsh justice as well. You are right about the long paragraph, I tend run on as I am trying to make my point. I will try to correct that bad habit in my writing in the future. Thanks for the advice.

  4. Herbert Jerez says:

    Hello lindsey,
    I have to say this case is ridiculous, and for those to continue to be victimized and abused is appalling. I can believe that the abuse continued even after under criminal investigation. How was it the FBI investigated complaints in 2015 and the US Olympic Committee learned about the misconduct in 2015 and they did not communicate amongst each other? Even when Nassar was suspended for three months in 2014. It is absolutely disgusting and goes to show that they system is broke. In my opinion there is not enough time in the world that Nassar can spend in prison to begin to prepay his victims.

  5. Brooke Renee Gerstein says:

    Super interesting topic, particularly because I wonder if people are ready to talk about it yet. With the US Gymnastics managing staff stepping down, as well as the enlightenment towards a serious issue, and Nassar going to jail, I think that there’s a possibility that this won’t become a huge issue for advertising dollars.
    Unfortunately, sponsors will probably continue to support the institution as a whole so it may not greatly effect the next summer olympics in particular.

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