Last week’s and this week’s dateline is Salt Lake City, and there are more headlines to come from there. Soon my partner Tim Joyce will be exposing how the cover-up of accused sex-abusing University of Utah swim coach Greg Winslow goes higher on the organizational chart than that departed senior associate athletic director whose last name I can neither pronounce nor spell. The campus has been roiling as swimmers returned in celebration from the Pac-12 Championships in Washington State — celebrating not because they aced the meet but because Winslow’s six-year reign of terror has ended.
Soon, too, our investigative resources will turn in earnest to the scene of the crime, Arizona State University, Winslow’s last stop in both collegiate and club swimming before he took his talents north.
And yes — to answer a question I’ve been getting a lot in recent days — soon Tim and I will be going back to the grossly undercovered scandals of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. That’s where Hall of Fame founder Murray Stephens has gone underground amidst allegations of having molested underage swimmers. Where two juveniles went unpunished last year after sexually assaulting a teammate, while Bob Bowman blew off the mother of the victim, advising her to take her “moral superiority” elsewhere. And where a 14-year-old drowned without a lifeguard in sight. Also where the locals are, shall we say, slow to stir to action — so mesmerized do they remain by the banal reenactment of Peter Sellers in Being There that are the post-career meanderings of the great and mighty Michael Phelps.
Wherever the setting and whatever the governing body that didn’t protect kids — be it USA Swimming, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or the American Swimming Coaches Association — make no mistake about what is happening. It could happen anywhere; it already has in a lot of places we don’t even know about yet. The Swimming industry, capital S, and the Olympic system, which cover up its money-grubbing and neglect of decency with a fresh coat of paint every four years, are having a nervous breakdown.
In Deep Deception, her book on the Irish swimming sex abuse scandals, Sunday Times of London reporter Justine McCarthy wrote of the power of the “blazers” — the suits who ran their sport for profit and personal aggrandizement, and couldn’t give a damn about anyone’s morals, superior or otherwise. The same phenomenon is unfolding in front of our eyes in Colorado Springs, in real time.
Concussion Inc. will continue to tell the stories just below the surface of the water. Please stick around and read, and do something about what you read.