Take a moment to ingest the words of photographer Betsy Bissen, linked over on Twinkie Town, as Ms. Bissen has protected her tweets.
Shortly after this posted, a journalist and author I greatly respect, Molly Knight, noted that she had been “waiting for the #metoo movement to work its way into professional sports.” The problem, unfortunately, is that the problem of sexual assault, harassment and other misogyny within professional sports has been an open secret for decades. Consider in the last 10-15 years alone, we’ve seen both Ben Roethlisberger and Jameis Winston walk away from rape allegations with little to no consequence, the Star Tribune’s Amelia Rayno and others being harassed by former U of M AD Norwood Teague, and Penn State University receiving a truncated penalty despite a history of sexual abuse and concealment of that abuse among the football team. Heck, as Minnesotans we all know and mostly all still love Kirby Puckett, despite being accused of assault more than once in his post playing career.
Unfortunately, athletes, especially those thrust into the spotlight at a young age are never truly required to mature. Often, those athletes are not forced into social responsibility and are met with near universal adulation, They are children in grown up bodies, and are too frequently given a free pass for misbehavior. That’s why we haven’t seen any of the allegations really stick in the past, and why Knight expects carnage when the floodgates open.
The present environment, in which women are thankfully feeling emboldened to speak out will perhaps produce some substantive repercussions. Minnesota has been at the forefront of many of the allegations arriving in this most recent wave of reckoning for those in positions of power. This is not because men in Minnesota are inherently worse than those elsewhere, but simply because the women have been brave, and the response among all Minnesotans has been supportive. I would be proud to live in the state that was the first not to give the abhorrent actions of its athletes a pass.