5 key takeaways from the NBC documentary on the Larry Nassar scandal 

Olympics Day 4 - Gymnastics - Artistic
From left: Kyla Ross, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England
Asher Fair

Dateline NBC hourlong special "Silent No More" aired Sunday night at 7:00 pm ET, and there are several key takeaways regarding the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal, the topic of the documentary, that stemmed from this feature.

Several interviews conducted by Savannah Guthrie were shown on the show. She interviewed two Olympic gymnasts, the mother of a gymnast, and two legendary gymnastics coaches.

Nassar, the 54-year-old disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University physician who is now behind bars, was finally arrested in December of 2016 after sexually assaulting more than 260 people, mostly female gymnasts, under the guise of medical treatment for roughly two decades.

He was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison this past December on three child pornography charges before being sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in state prison and between an additional 40 and 125 more years in state prison in January and February on seven and three sexual assault charges, respectively.

Here are five takeaways from this documentary.

Olympics Day 9 - Gymnastics - Artistic
McKayla Maroney at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England

People did speak up. But no one listened.

I'm not going to go into this like I have in six other articles, of which four are also published on Sportskeeda. I have been extremely critical of the critical comments regarding Larry Nassar's victims that basically state that they have no one to blame but themselves for one reason or another.

These reasons have included "they should have spoken up sooner".

As expected, now we know for a fact -- beyond a shadow of a doubt -- that people did speak up, which totally negates all of the victim shamers who "don't feel sorry" for them victims because "they didn't speak up right away".

Former Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney stated that she spoke out about Nassar sexually assaulting her in 2011 when driving back from a training session with her teammates, and coach John Geddert, who is under criminal investigation for alleged physical assault of gymnasts, was there. However, he said nothing and did nothing about it.

Here is what she had to say about the matter, according to NBC.

"I was in the car driving back to the hotel and I even said out loud that last night, Larry was fingering me."

In regard to whether or not she said it loudly enough and she was sure that people heard her, here is what she had to say.

"Yea. Yea...because people gasped."

Three other people who were there in the car, including two-time Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, say that they remember this conversation. Here is what Raisman had to say about the matter, according to NBC.

"I remember what McKayla said. She basically described, in graphic detail, what Nassar had done to her the night before."

Maroney also stated the following about speaking out in other situations as well.

"There were moments, and lots of moments, where I would make little signs and say things like that, but that was the biggest one that I can't even believe that I said that out loud in the car like that but I must have been so desperate at the time."
Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 6
Aly Raisman at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

It was never about money

Like I said on the previous takeaway slide, I'm not going to go into this like I have in six other articles, of which four are also published on Sportskeeda. I have been very critical of the critical comments regarding Larry Nassar's victims that basically state that they have no one to blame but themselves for one reason or another.

In addition to the reason discussed on the previous slide, these reasons have also included "they just went their time in the spotlight" and "they just want to stay relevant", with both ultimately leading to "it's all about the money".

As expected, these reasons could not be further from the truth, and we now know with absolute certainty -- beyond a shadow of a doubt -- that this is the case.

Aly Raisman revealed that USA Gymnastics offered her a settlement agreement that had confidentiality in it, but she did not agree to sign it.

Here is what Raisman had to say about the matter, according to NBC.

"They did offer me a settlement, but with confidentiality in it, so obviously I said no. From the very beginning, I knew that I wanted to talk about this."

McKayla Maroney, who did end up being forced into signing a confidentiality agreement with USA Gymnastics and being paid $1.25 million by them for it, was also not interested in money.

Here is what Maroney had to say to her father about the matter back when discussing a settlement agreement involving a non-disclosure agreement, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“Dad, I can’t handle this. Money isn’t that important.”
USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar Sentenced On Multiple Sexual Assault Charges
Former USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar

Larry Nassar saved McKayla Maroney's Olympic dreams

Of the five key takeaways from this documentary, this is probably the weirdest. McKayla Maroney herself stated that she felt extremely confused about this situation and still does until this day, so I don't feel nearly as bad for feeling the same way.

While he sexually assaulted her, Nassar saved Maroney's Olympic dreams.

After getting to London, England for the 2012 Summer Olympics, Maroney sustained a significant injury to her foot -- a broken right toe. Nassar, however, lied about it to coach Márta Károlyi and told her that it was an old injury.

Had the truth gotten out, Maroney would have been kicked off the team and not have been able to compete.

She ended up competing, and she helped the United States women's gymnastics team win the gold medal for the first time since the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia with a vault in the team competition that many people believe is the greatest of all-time.

Here is the video of that vault, which was given a score of 16.233, the highest score among all 24 of the vaults performed in the team competition by far.


Maroney also earned a silver medal for her individual performance in the vault in what was and is one of the largest upsets in Olympic history after she failed to land her dismount on her second vault in the finals.


Prior to that fall, she had an amazing streak of 33 consecutive vaults during which she successfully landed her dismount.

Of course, it would seem safe to assume that the only reason Nassar saved Maroney's Olympic dreams is because he wanted to keep her there to continue sexually assaulting her, which is exactly what he did. After all, she was one of his primary targets.

But at the same time, his lie kept Maroney's Olympic dreams alive, and that's what makes the whole situation so confusing, especially for the 22-year-old.

Hilton Announces Sponsorship With USA Gymnastics Team
Béla and Márta Károlyi

The Károlyi situation is complex

There were several things that Béla and Márta Károlyi (mostly Márta) said that made sense, but others still left viewers wondering, which we sort of expected coming into their interviews.

After all, they had not spoken up until now, and they technically did not have to speak up at all. In fact, it was somewhat of a surprise to some that every question that was asked of them, they answered, and their lawyer never had to interfere even once.

That said, there are still some uncertainties that make the situation revolving Béla and Márta Károlyi rather complex.

Even if they had no knowledge whatsoever of what Nassar was doing, which is definitely believable in that Nassar was even able to sexually assault his victims in front of their parents, as he positioned himself in a spot where they could not see exactly what he was doing to their children, Nassar's sexual assault still happened on their watch.

Plus, Nassar was allowed unfettered access to their gymnasts. He even had access to them at night in their cabins when they were alone with no other adults around.

Gina Nichols, the mother of gymnast Maggie Nichols could not believe this, according to NBC.

"My husband is a doctor. He has never seen a pediatric patient alone in a room ever in his entire career. That this man was allowed to see children all over the place everywhere, hotel rooms, all over the ranch...what are people thinking? These are children!"

There are some other claims that have been made by several gymnasts that Béla and Márta Károlyi have denied completely, which makes it a "your word against mine" kind of thing. There have been other claims that there is no way they were completely in the dark about it.

One thing that is also interesting is the fact that Béla and Márta Károlyi were told to stay silent about Nassar's sexual assault by USA Gymnastics once the institution was made aware about it, which is the same thing that they told to Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Gina Nichols, and probably others.

Any way you slice it, this situation is tough to assess from an overall standpoint, and that will likely continue to be the case.

Olympics - Previews - Day -1
Aly Raisman at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Aly Raisman was right

As 7:00 pm ET on Sunday night approached, I was not aware that Aly Raisman would be featured in "Silent No More".

But at this point, I'm not sure why I would bet against it seeing as how she has been arguably the strongest voice of all of Nassar's accusers with her constant calls to hold his enablers, including USA Gymnastics, the United States Olympic Committee and Michigan State University, accountable for enabling him.

Here is an excerpt from Raisman's victim impact statement during Nassar's sentencing hearing in January.

"The tables have turned, Larry. We are here. We have our voices and we are not going anywhere. And now, Larry, it's your turn to listen to me.”

Here is Raisman's full statement.


Like Raisman said, the "army of survivors" are "not going anywhere". She is helping to make absolutely sure of it.

In fact, after "Silent No More" was done airing, Raisman took to Twitter to express her frustration with what she saw as several shortcomings, which match similar frustrations she has had in recent months with how this scandal has been handled by USA Gymnastics.

Based on everything that has happened up until now, Raisman was right; she is certainly not planning on going anywhere until some serious changes to the institutions that enabled Nassar's predatory behavior are made to prevent a scandal like this one from happening ever again, and neither is anybody else.

Edited by Asher Fair

Quick Links:

More from Sportskeeda
Fetching more content...
Article image

Go to article
App download animated image Get the free App now