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Michigan Football Coach Statue Vandalized With Message Supporting Sexual Assault Victims

A statue of a University of Michigan football coach considered the greatest in the program’s history was vandalized with paint and a message expressing support for the sexual assault victims of a former sports doctor at the school, the Associated Press reported. Former Michigan football players have come forward saying that they informed then-coach Glenn “Bo” Schembechler about the assault by the late Dr. Robert Anderson in the 1970s, but he turned a blind eye.

Red paint was splattered across the statue, which is located outside the school’s football building, the Detroit Free Press reported. The vandal or vandals also wrote “Bo knew #hailtothevictims” in black on the steps near the statue.

A crew was working to clean the red paint off the statue Wednesday, and the university said in a statement that they were investigating the vandalism.

“We understand and appreciate the passionate advocacy on behalf of those who were abused by the late Robert Anderson,” spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said in the statement. “But the vandalism to the University of Michigan statue of Bo Schembechler will be investigated fully in order to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

Schembechler’s son, Matt, is among the people assaulted by Anderson, but he said that his father refused to take action or protect him when he revealed the abuse.

“Dr. Anderson was part of the University of Michigan team. He was part of Bo’s team, therefore, he was more important than any man. It’s very clear that Bo and the university always put themselves before any student-athlete or son, just to support the brand,” Matt Schembechler said during a news conference in the Detroit suburb of Novi.

Glenn Schembechler, another of the late coach’s sons, has said that he doesn’t believe his father knew about Anderson’s abuse, according to the AP.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Michigan Statue Vandalized
A statue of a University of Michigan football coach considered the greatest in the program’s history was vandalized with paint and a message expressing support for sexual assault victims of a former sports doctor at the school on November 24, 2021, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Sam Dodge/Jackson Citizen Patriot via AP

A law firm hired by U-M found that officials failed to stop Anderson, despite hearing reports that he sexually assaulted student-athletes. The university is in mediation with lawyers who are seeking a financial settlement for 800-plus people, mostly men.

An email sent to the Free Press Wednesday morning read, “This action is done in solidarity with the Hail to the Victims campaign,” according to the newspaper.

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

Some have called for Schembechler’s statue to be taken down and his name removed from the football building.

Anderson retired in 2003 and died in 2008.

Schembechler, who died in 2006, is hailed as the greatest coach of college football’s winningest program. He led the Wolverines from 1969-89, won 194 games at the school, and had 234 victories including wins over six seasons at Miami of Ohio.

Glenn “Bo” Schembechler Statue
Former Michigan football players have come forward saying that they informed Glenn “Bo” Schembechler about the sexual assault by the late Dr. Robert Anderson in the 1970s, but he turned a blind eye. The statue of Schembechler was vandalized on the morning of November 24, 2021, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Sam Dodge/Jackson Citizen Patriot via AP

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