Bo Schembechler statue vandalized with message about survivors of Robert Anderson’s alleged sexual abuse


A statue of Michigan football head coach Bo Schembechler on the school’s campus was defaced overnight on Wednesday. It was covered with red paint was also graffitied. According to a report by David Jesse of the Detroit Free Press, the act of vandalism was motivated by support for those who have alleged that former Michigan team doctor Robert Anderson sexually abused male athletes throughout his career under the guise of medical treatment.

The graffiti message, which read “Bo Knew #hailtothevictims,” intimated that Schembechler — the head coach of the Wolverines from 1969 to 1989 — knew of Anderson’s alleged sexual abuse but did nothing to stop it. This stance was shared by an anonymous area resident who emailed the Free Press taking responsibility for the act of vandalism.

“This action is done in solidarity with the Hail to the Victims campaign,” read an email sent by an anonymous “Boknew” email address. “Bo Schembechler is long seen as an iconic Michigan coach, but he knew that Robert Anderson, the team’s doctor in the 1970s and 1980s, was sexually assaulting countless players each year. When Bo’s son confronted him about his own assault, Bo punched him and told him to keep quiet.

“Bo pulled strings and bent over backwards to ensure that Anderson could keep his job. It is time for the world to know that Bo is responsible for the abuse of innumerable Michigan football players.”

A report by Michigan Radio from October states that an investigation into Anderson’s misconduct claimed his abuse ranged from unnecessary hernia and rectal examinations on patients seeking treatment for unrelated issues and quid pro quo arrangements where he provided medical services in exchange for sexual contact.

A law firm hired by the University of Michigan concluded earlier this year that Anderson committed such acts on “countless occasions” over the span of nearly four decades. By October, complaints of sexual abuse by Anderson — who died in 2008 — have exceeded 2,100.

While Schembechler has been revered as the greatest head coach in the history of the Wolverines, former Michigan football players have claimed that he turned a blind eye to Anderson’s activities, refusing to protect players and allowing Anderson to continue his abuse.

Daniel Kwiatowski, an offensive lineman in the 1970s, claimed that he told Schembechler that Anderson had molested him only to be told to “toughen up” by his coach. Matt Schembechler has also claimed that his father ordered university athletic director Don Canham to reinstate Anderson after Canham had fired him, despite Matt being among Anderson’s victims.

Schembechler died in 2006.



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