Steve Penny: Return the Money
Sorry to be a whiner, but last night I was sick and half asleep on the couch. In between fits of coughing and sneezing, the NBC Nightly News was ending. The teaser came up and said "Up Next, Dateline's: Silent No More." The story of McKayla Maroney's brave....
Uggh. I can't watch that. That whole Larry Nassar business is very upsetting. Certain people at MSU and U.S. Gymnastics should be in jail, but don't worry they will be once all the lawsuits play out.
So I picked up the remote to change the channel to Fox to watch Bob's Burgers. Remote doesn't work. Went to kitchen to get AAA batteries. Out of AAA batteries. Pulled the TV away from the wall, no buttons to change the channel on the TV. As I played with the TV, I felt the overwhelming urge to pass out. So I laid back down on the couch.
And I'm mad. As mad as a sick person can be. I had a paper towel shoved into my right nostril because my nose would absolutely not stop running. Couldn't sleep because of the coughing and body aches, couldn't lay down because of the head congestion, and I couldn't work on Beacon of Speech, the family took the laptop to the in-laws house.
So I was propped up there, like Alex in Clockwork Orange, eyes pried open, watching those poor girls being exploited by US Gymnastics and at every single commercial, I kept trying to turn the channel, hoping the remote would magically work. McKayla's story was absolutely heartbreaking. About half way through the report, NBC interviewed one of the other Gymnast's Mom who said she spoke with Steve Penny, head of US Gymnastics, as soon as she learned about the abuse of her daughter at Larry Nassar's hands. Steve Penny, according to NBC, did nothing......
I'm going to be very vague here and tell you a personal story. When my own daughter was very young, 11, I believe, she had a really crappy cell phone. We were very careful, the phone wasn't activated and it wasn't connected to the internet. But we wanted her to be able to play games on the phone, so we let her get game apps.
My wife was checking the phone one day and found graphic pictures of an adult male and that adult male was asking for nudes of my daughter. Unbeknownst to us, our daughter was using the app Kik, and immediately, I think later that same day, the whole family went to the police department and filed a police report.
Our local police department was very helpful and they told us right away that it didn't appear that the man in question was a local resident and they'd have to elevate the complaint to the FBI. Within a week, my daughter was being interviewed by an FBI Agent with my wife as her chaperone. The Agent said they had indeed traced the stranger to a location a thousand miles away and would continue to monitor the situation. We were grateful that the local police and the FBI acted so swiftly...
Steve Penny literally had a stack of complaints piling up against Larry Nassar. His first priority was to protect US Gymnastics, more specifically, his paycheck, and not the teenage gymnasts. NBC tried to paint the Karolyi Ranch in a negative light, but the ranch closed in January. The Karolyis' penalty in the scandal is that the couple have lost their life's work. There is an on-going investigation of the Karolyis by the Texas Rangers. Time will tell if the Ranch's closure was a sufficient penalty.
Steve Penny though, what was his penalty when he resigned for (allegedly) protecting Larry Nassar? According to Maroney, the abuse was going on during the 2012 London Olympics, meaning he got to keep his $450,000 a year job for 5 more years after he started to hear the whispers and before he received a MILLION DOLLAR severance package. What was Penny's penalty?
Eventually Penny will probably get some sort of time served, or token penalty, but from the first time he found out a gymnast was potential molested to the time he resigned, it is possible (through math) that he made up to $4 million from US Gymnastics including bonuses.
He could be proactive and return his severance package to US Gymnastics, he did at least a million dollars worth of damage to the reputation of USAGym. But he won't.
He is much more likely to be spending the money by lawyering up and pleading ignorance.
All Steve Penny had to do was make a phone call to the local authorities.
When he finally got around to it, it was way, way too late.
Oh, and by the way. I think my daughter's fine. She's a teenager now, so who knows what the next day will bring.
Addendum May 1,2018: The Karolyis are suing USA Gymnastics, per ESPN.