I want to take you back more than five years ago when former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison for the despicable acts he committed on numerous young boys involved in activities at Penn State's football facilites.
Take a second and remember this dark cloud that hung over the nation for weeks and even months when you factor in the events that followed at Penn State with the administration and the football program.
Was there a day that you weren't made aware of what was going during the investigation of the school and during Sandusky's trial, where 10 of the boys he abused testified in court? You probably remember the wall-to-wall coverage of this from every news outlet in the United States.
Here's another question: Have you seen that kind of coverage with former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar?
To make a long story short — which was originally broken by The Indianapolis Star in an article, "Out of Balance" — Nassar used "treatments" going all the way back to 1997 (at least) on young gymnasts that weren't "treatments" at all. It was sexual abuse to 140-160 different women, the exact number depending on the outlet you read or watch.
On Wednesday, Nassar was sentenced by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina to 40-175 years in prison, on top of the 60 years he'd already been sentenced for child pornography. Not only did this sick human being feel less than no remorse for his actions, it wasn't just he and the girls that knew. According to victim impact statements, trainers knew; coaches knew; administrators at Michigan State University where Nassar was an athletic doctor also knew.
My eyes popped out of my head during Judge Aquilina's official sentencing where she told Nassar, "I just signed your death warrant," and threw his disgraceful six-page letter to the side of her stand, where he actually had the gall to say he was feeling psychological abuse from the survivors' statements and said, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."
The sentencing for Nassar may be over, but this story isn't. USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee gave Nassar access to visit these young women privately in their hotel rooms. The dominoes are only beginning to fall.
The unfortunate thing is, this is likely the biggest scandal in the history of sports already as we know it. But, does it feel like it?
"In terms of the publicity that this is getting (compared to Penn State), it's just not there," Michigan City head girls golf coach Drew White said. "Some people that I've talked to have noted that with Penn State, that had to do with football, which has more popularity. This has to do with gymnastics, which typically every four years, becomes kind of important to most of the United States."
Aly Raisman. Simone Biles. Jordyn Wieber. McKayla Maroney.
Four of the biggest names in the history of gymnastics for the United States (and all former Olympic gold medalists) were all abused by Nassar.
"Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice," Raisman said in her official statement during Nassar's trial in Michigan. "Well, you know what Larry, I have both power and voice, and I am only beginning to just use them. All these brave women have power, and we will use our voices to make sure you get what you deserve, a life of suffering spent replaying the words delivered by this powerful army of survivors."
Not only should you watch Raisman's full statement, you should watch all of the women speak and use their voices to express such courage and disgust with Nassar's actions. From Raisman to former Michigan State gymnast Rachael Denhollander, the first gymnast who publicly accused Nassar, you should listen to these women. I'm telling you this because as a society, we treat women horrifically. Whether it's behind a phone, a keyboard on social media or in person, there's so many men in the world that don't understand how damaging their treatment of women can be.
I know some men reading this are probably thinking, "I treat women great!"
Hey, if you actually do, great! But it's not about you, Random Women Respecter. It's about all of us males who seem to dominate the world's population — and the world of sports for that matter — especially those who have no belief in women participating in athletics. Yes, they're athletes and yes, they have just as much of a platform to use their voice as someone like LeBron James does.
If you're so narrow-minded that you can't see how strong and courageous these women are, you really need to open your eyes, escape this personal bubble you're in and wake up.
The world, especially America as a whole, is in a dark abyss seemingly without an escape. Why? Because we're not willing to talk and discuss things that make us uncomfortable. Whether it's race, police brutality, sexual assault and abuse, the government as a whole ... whatever the case is, we need to not only be more willing to open up and have progressive discussions as a society, we need to give women more of a place in this world.
Reach Michael Whitlow at email@example.com or (219) 214-4169. Follow him on Twitter @couldbelikemike.