Foggy ethics for female athletes

Brittany Willwerth, Staff Writer

To make it to the top in the sports community, one must dedicate countless hours of time, exert a plethora of energy, and make a slew of sacrifices in order to achieve their dreams. But, if you’re a female, this journey is potentially more likely to be plagued with strife.

In a recent interview with “60 Minutes,” Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman stated that she was sexually assaulted by the women’s gymnastics national team doctor, Larry Nassar. Raisman is just one of 130 women who have come out and accused Nassar of assault.

In her statement, Raisman explained that she was innocent and naïve at the time that it first occurred. Nassar was incredibly friendly, which led her to believe that his intentions were pure. She soon came to question his actions after being questioned about them by an investigator hired by USA Gymnastics.

Raisman is not the first gymnast of Team USA to come forward and claim that she was sexually assaulted by Nassar. Fellow teammate McKayla Maroney stated on Oct. 18 that Nassar repeatedly molested her under the guise that he was providing her with “medically necessary treatment.” Maroney endured such treatment from the age of 13 up until she left the sport of gymnastics at age 21.

“This is happening everywhere,” Maroney said. “Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse. I had a dream to go to the Olympics, and the things that I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting.”

Within the world of college athletics, similar allegations are emerging. In a complaint issued this August, a former Auburn softball player expressed her concerns about a pattern of sexual harassment accusations made against the Tiger coaching staff.

“No one on the outside has a clue to what we went through,” another former player, Whitney Jordan, said. In an ESPN article, another former player was asked if any of the coaches ever commented on her looks. She responded by saying, “That’s how it was determined if you were liked or not.”

While things may seem fine, in reality, female athletes are constantly struggling to reconcile their dedication to a sport they love with the unjust treatment that they receive when the cameras are off. With that said, it has become increasingly evident that the mirror reflecting the ethics of sports is quite fogged.

Inevitably, female athletes endure trials and tribulations on the road to success. But how can the sports community intervene to prevent the sexual misconduct that they experience on top of these struggles?

For now, female athletes will continue to fight for success in a system receiving anything but a perfect score.

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