A heckler is reported to have repeatedly shouted “Larry Nassar!” to taunt MSU during the NCAA Final Four men’s basketball game in Minneapolis.
Nassar, of course, is the former MSU sports medicine doctor who sexually abused hundreds of girls and young women for years.
Kate Mahon, a survivor of Nassar's abuse, happened to be walking near the heckler during his outburst, according to The Detroit Free Press, and she was upset by the experience, for obvious reasons. Mahon told the Freep that while it’s common for people to use fighting words at sporting events, they should respect sexual assault survivors and refrain from crossing that line:
"In a competitive environment, essentially, it's a fight," she said. "So ... you bring up things you know are going to hurt ... so you can win, you know? And in this environment, it's wanting to win not only the game, but win any arguments, win with banter, and not knowing when to draw the line.
"There's lines you should know you cannot cross; you cannot go there. Sexual assault and rape should be in that category, and it's upsetting that it's not in that category."
The lack of empathy one might have when screaming out the name of a known, convicted sex offender might be a result of the willful ignorance some cling to regarding the fact that there are an average of 321,500 victims age 12 or older of rape and sexual assault each year in the U.S., according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network).
Hecklers screaming completely inappropriate things at sporting events is apparently not an isolated event. On April 4, Metro Times reported on a fan of the Philadelphia's Villanova Wildcats who made fun of the Flint water crisis at a championship game against the U of M Wolverines by waving a banner that read “The only lead @mich will have is in their water.” Wow, clever. Penn State and Ohio State fans made similar jabs at U of M as well. But a water crisis that killed more than a dozen people should not be the punchline to a joke.
Sports are competitive, but c'mon people, don't be jerks.
Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.