Friends, please meet “Athlete A” – Maggie Nichols. Maggie just graduated from the University of Oklahoma and she is, arguably, the best collegiate gymnast we have ever seen. And, it wasn’t that long ago when many said she was good enough to represent the United States at the 2016 Olympics.
While those titles and accolades are very important, they are not THE most important thing about Maggie Nichols. It is her courage for which I will always honor this young lady.
Maggie Nichols was the first person to report Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse to USA Gymnastics. She opened the door for more than 500 other young women to step forward and disclose their abuse at the hands of the USA Gymnastics team physician. And her voice was among many publicly and privately calling for a culture shift within the National Governing Body.
There are many, many lessons to be learned from this horrific history of child sexual abuse. But, in my humble opinion, here are the most important things parents, coaches, sports team/program administrators and youth works can learn…
☑️ Youth protection, specifically child sexual abuse prevention, needs to be consistent and constant.
☑️ We can’t make youth protection a priority only when it’s convenient or not uncomfortable.
☑️If your organization or family has policies or ways of doing things to minimize the risk of abuse, then no one…and I mean no one…should get a pass because of their prominence in the community, their relationship in the family, or how long you have known them.
It’s that simple. Let’s not make it more complicated than it needs to be.