Michigan Football Broadcaster: Former Wolverines’ Allegations Against Bo Schembechler Are ‘Disingenuous’
Longtime Michigan football broadcaster Jim Brandstatter said former Wolverine players who allege that Bo Schembechler dismissed their accounts of sexual abuse at the hands of team doctor Robert Anderson aren't credible.
Brandstatter, who played under Schembechler at Michigan from 1969 through 1972 and has been part of the team's radio broadcasts since the 1980s, appeared Friday, June 11, on Staudt On Sports on The Game 730 AM WVFN. He denied the allegations against his late former coach, who died in 2006.
"I know Bo Schembechler well enough to know, and I've been through enough with him as a player and as a friend and as a fan and watching him work all of his years and knowing him after he retired," Brandstatter said. "If Bo Schembechler felt there was something wrong going on, Bo Schembechler would address it.
"And to suggest, in my opinion, that Bo knew about this stuff and let it continue is disingenuous."
Anderson, who died in 2008, served as a team physician for Michigan football from the 1960s until his retirement in 2003. He also served within Michigan's University Health Service.
More than 800 people have come forward as sexual assault victims of Anderson's during his tenure at the University of Michigan. The school is currently in legal mediation with Anderson's victims.
At a press conference last week, former Wolverine football players Gilvanni Johnson and Daniel Kwiatkowski publicly identified themselves as victims of Anderson's sexual abuse. They both said Schembechler ignored them when they told the coach Anderson had sexually assaulted them during examinations.
Schembechler's son, Matt, also came forward last week, saying Anderson sexually assaulted him during an appointment in 1969 when he was 10 years old. Matt said his father grew angry with him when told of the incident and dismissed it.
Calling him the "star of the press conference," Brandstatter said he doesn't believe Matt Schembechler's allegations against the late Michigan coach and doesn't know what his motivation is.
"I do know that he did not like Bo from many, many years ago," Brandstatter said. "He and Bo have had their problems in their relationship."
Brandstatter also noted that Kwiatkowski "may have an ax to grind" as he was dismissed from the Michigan football program for "drug abuse."
Brandstatter said he believes Anderson's victims' accounts of sexual assault, acknowledging that Anderson "clearly was a predator." But, he said, "they're now trying to destroy Bo Schembechler for Bob Anderson's sins, and, to me, that's not fair."
"Bob Anderson is not Bo Schembechler, and Bo Schembechler did not, in my opinion, enable Bob to do any of this stuff, no matter what anybody says," Brandstatter said. "Because that's not the guy that I know."
You can hear Brandstatter's full comments in the accompanying audio clip.