For more than 40 years, Chuck Christian did not call himself a victim because he did not think he was one.
He was a muralist who had played tight end at Michigan. He grew up poor in Detroit but came to be a world traveler. He contracted prostate cancer and outlived his doctors’ predictions.
Remember Dr. Robert Anderson? The team doctor at Michigan who performed painful, unexplained rectal examinations? Someone reported him, the former teammate said, and it turns out that what he did to you, and to so many other players, was probably a crime.
“I realized that he had victimized so many of us,” Christian said in a recent interview.
Since February, when the university revealed findings of a secret, long-running investigation, hundreds of people have complained about Anderson’s conduct. As the inquiry unfolded, lawyers said it was increasingly clear that while Michigan achieved decades of success with many of the nation’s finest athletes, it also harbored a vast sexual abuse scandal.
Christian soon learned that, like him, many other athletes had quietly left the campus without recognizing that Anderson’s behavior demanded an investigation.
These days, Christian grapples with questions about how long his cancer may have grown undetected because his experience with Anderson had instilled a lasting distrust of doctors.