Nancy Hogshead-Makar: Women’s Sports Advocates in ‘Difficult’ Wait-and-See Mode on Sex Abuse Oversight

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by Irvin Muchnick



The Government Accountability Office, following two years of little-stick carrying by former Congressman George Miller, has issued a nothing report on sexual abuse in amateur sports.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, having been handed off Miller’s leadership role on this issue, faintly praised the GAO report and, presumably, stuffed it in a drawer. Why? We can’t say. Her office stopped responding to Concussion Inc.’s inquiries.

However, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, the former Olympic swimmer who last year launched the group ChampionWomen — after years as senior director of advocacy at the Women’s Sports Foundation — did offer an analysis of the current landscape. She told us:



“The USOC has announced that it is developing a new agency, and I and other advocates are in the difficult position of waiting to see exactly what that means.

The sexual abuse problems in our national sport governing bodies will continue without a mechanism for getting abusers out of sport. If the new agency isn’t as independent and effective as USADA, athletes in Olympic and club sports will need civil rights law protections; the same ones given to students under Title IX and employees under Title VII.  

Until then, more new abuse victims will be created by repeat offending coaches, and victims will be frustrated in getting justice.”



I want to be clear that there are degrees of difference between Hogshead-Makar’s views and my own. I don’t believe USADA — the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency — is effective or, especially, at all independent. Indeed, as this site and no one else has reported, USADA chief Travis Tygart cut his teeth as a cover-up lawyer for USA Swimming. See

But those degrees of difference matter here less than the fact that one of the country’s longest and strongest advocates on behalf of female athletes’ rights at least isn’t speaking only into an echo chamber. USOC’s “National Center for Safe Sport” already blew the first deadline set by its own hype in announcing a $5.2 million start-up phase “through June”; its seven “advisory council” members are as mute as Speier. The last thing this national conversation needs is a case of strategic laryngitis, as imposed by the same Olympic authorities who have already established that they are not to be trusted.

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick