There wasn’t a single kid in America in the 1970s who loved Bo Schembechler more than me.
Growing up in nearby Toledo, we had season tickets to University of Michigan football games, so I lived and died with Bo and his team. I shed a lot of tears when Michigan lost, which has happened far too often against Ohio State in the regular season finals and the Pac-8 teams at the Rose Bowl.
Later, when I became a journalist and interviewed Bo occasionally, something whimsical always occurred to me: what would that young girl sitting with her father and siblings have thought? at Michigan Stadium?
Which brings us to Thursday and the absolutely horrific claim made by Schembechler’s son Matt that when he told his dad he was sexually assaulted when he was 10 by the doctor in Michigan football team Robert Anderson during a physical exam in 1969, Bo flew in a rage – not against the doctor, but against the boy, hitting his son with a closed fist in the chest, causing him cross the kitchen.
“I don’t want to hear this,” Matt Schembechler said, quoting his father, according to the Detroit Free Press. “Don’t ever tell me about that again.” “
Matt Schembechler said Anderson stroked his genitals and digitally penetrated him. “I tried telling him a few times,” Matt said of Bo, “but my efforts got me a punch in the chest. It was the beginning of the end of our relationship.
Hundreds of Michigan athletes have accused Anderson of sexually assaulting them, including fondling them and giving them rectal exams, even though they came to see him complaining of a sore throat, d ‘a bad elbow or some other disease. Other Michigan students accused Anderson of granting Vietnam War project deferrals in exchange for sex. Hundreds of men have sued college for failing to arrest Anderson. More than 800 cases in total are currently in mediation in Federal Court.
Only one of those people, however, is Bo’s son. If what he said Thursday is true, it would mean that his father not only allowed Anderson to continue sexually assaulting and mistreating young people for potentially another 34 years until his retirement in 2003, he also carried out crimes. domestic violence against her young son in his own home. Schembechler died in 2006. Anderson died in 2008.
If that’s true, the University of Michigan must do to Schembechler what Penn State did to Joe Paterno after ignoring Jerry Sandusky’s sexual assault on young boys. The statue must come down. The football building needs to be renamed. All reverence for man must cease, replaced by disgust.
Cancel culture? You bet. If this is true, Bo Schembechler is not a legend, he is a monster.
There has already been an investigation into Anderson’s alleged abuse, but it looks like another is in order now that Matt Schembechler has told his story to the media. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s default position so far has been to defend Bo and put his head in the sand.
It won’t work anymore. It’s not just Matt Schembechler; he was joined at the press conference by two former Michigan players, Daniel Kwiatkowski, a 1977-79 offensive lineman, and Gilvanni Johnson, a 1982-86 wide receiver. Kwiatkowski said he was assaulted by Anderson four times. Johnson said he was assaulted 15 times.
“Before my first year physique you would hear players joke about having to see ‘Dr. Anal,’ Johnson said. “The exam was very painful. I felt humiliated and confused. I had never had a physique like this. I told Bo that Dr Anderson was playing with my genitals and he put his finger in my anus. Bo said he would check this with the medical staff. I never heard from Bo again.
Lawyer Mick Grewal, who represents Matt Schembechler and dozens of others in the case, put it bluntly: “Bo knew. If Bo was listening to his son, these two gentlemen (Kwiatkowski and Johnson) wouldn’t be sitting here today.
The horrific stories these men told strike at the heart of everything Michigan is and has been for the past 50 years: its heritage, its identity, its reputation. Bo wasn’t just Michigan football. He was from Michigan.
For years he was also the Big Ten – him and Woody Hayes. Ah, the Big Ten. Look at the massive sexual abuse and assault scandals that the conference gave us: Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan. My God, this is mind boggling.
What was said by Bo’s son and two of Bo’s players on Thursday cannot be ignored. It’s not just about Anderson. It’s about Bo. What did he know? When did he find out? How many times has he been told?
So many questions, one more: What would this young girl have thought, sitting with her father and siblings at Michigan Stadium?