Sarah Klein, Tiffany Lopez and Aly Raisman: 'The abuse of Larry Nassar began 30 years ago' Arthur Ashe Award, ESPYS - 2018

19 July 2018, Microsoft Theatre, Los Angeles, USA

Sarah Klein: It's a privilege to stand up here with my sister survivors as we represent hundreds more who are not here tonight.

Make no mistake — we're here on this stage to present an image for the world to see, a portrait of survival, a new vision of courage.

The abuse of Larry Nassar began 30 years ago with me. For 30 years, people at the United States Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, and Michigan State University all placed money and medals above the safety of child athletes. Thirty years, until the work of Detective Lieutenant Andrea Munford of the Michigan State Police Department and Andrea Povilaitis, the assistant attorney general who prosecuted the case, finally putting our abuser away for life.

Speaking up and speaking out is not easy. Telling our stories of abuse, over and over and over again, in graphic detail, is not easy. We're sacrificing privacy, we're being judged and scrutinized, and it's grueling and it's painful, but it is time.

As a mother, I am here to say that we must start caring about children's safety more than we care about adults' reputations. And as a survivor, I'm here to say that if we just give one person the courage to use their voice, this is worth it. If one more victim of sexual abuse feels less alone tonight, then our suffering has meaning.

Tiffany Thomas Lopez: In my sport, softball, we typically measure ourselves with with wins and losses. Well, the amount of loss is almost immeasurable. Tonight, we stand here, and it feels like we're finally winning.

There are a lot of conversations in our society that we tiptoe around as if they're something to avoid. I know in my life, people have looked that way at two issues extremely personal to me: race and sexual abuse. Sexual abuse claims victims in every race, showing no discrimination. Just like Arthur Ashe, I stand so very proud representing not only minorities, but all of us as humans, the human race.

I encourage those suffering to hold tight to your faith, and stand tall when speaking your truth. I'm here to tell you, you cannot silence the strong forever.

Aly Raisman: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. These were the years we spoke up about Larry Nassar's abuse. All those years, we were told, ‘You are wrong. You misunderstood. He's a doctor. It's OK. Don't worry. We've got it covered. Be careful. There are risks involved.’ The intention? To silence us in favor of money, medals, and reputation.

But we persisted, and finally, someone listened and believed us. This past January, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina showed a profound level of understanding by giving us each an opportunity to face our abuser, to speak our truth, and feel heard. Thank you, Judge, for honoring our voices. For too long, we were ignored, and you helped us rediscover the power we each possess. You may never meet the hundreds of children you saved, but know they exist.

The ripple effect of our actions, or inactions, can be enormous. spanning generations. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of this nightmare is that it could have been avoided. Predators thrive in silence. It is all too common for people to choose to not get involved. Whether you act or do nothing, you are shaping the world we live in, impacting others. All we needed was one adult to have the integrity to stand between us and Larry Nassar. If just one adult had listened, believed, and acted, the people standing before you on this stage would have never met him.

Too often, abusers, and enablers perpetuate suffering by making survivors feel their truth doesn't matter. To the survivors out there, don't let anyone write your story. Your truth does matter. You matter. And you are not alone.

We all face hardships. If we choose to listen and we choose to act with empathy, we can draw strength from each other. We may suffer alone, but we survive together.


Cooper Cronk: 'Because while football is very important, life is way more important', Retirement speech - 2017

3 October 2017, Melbourne, Australia

On Craig Bellamy

Craig sets an agenda or an example of what it takes to be successful but he also has this side of humility that makes you a better person and some guys have come to this club that have been really good players, way better than some of the other ones that have come through the door. “Some of the lunatics get out the door real quick because they just don’t fit and that’s because of Craig.

His humility from where he’s come from and what he has is something that I’ve learnt. The two lessons that I’ve learnt from Craig is that hard work pays off and humility is a trait that you want to have.

Craig thank you, you’re the biggest influence on my rugby league career. I thank you for the person you are and I wish you all the very best with your ever growing family with a couple of grandkids now and that brings a smile to my face, knowing that you’re very happy with your life and where it’s at and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

On Cmeron Smith

To Cameron and Bill — I tell you what we balled our eyes out the other day when we presented each other jerseys, it is emotional once you develop relationships over a long period of time and we all met in 2001.

Cameron used to drive me in his hotted up HG Holden car when I didn’t know the difference between a windscreen wiper and a mud flap but he would absolutely fang the thing on the Gateway Motorway and I remember one day it was teeming down with rain and he aquaplaned it at about 160km/h and I was holding on for dear life. So thanks for almost killing me ...

Thank you for doing the things we did.

On Billy Slater

We all know Billy’s story about driving down from Innisfail but we all don’t know the story that he used to drive a maroon Magna with roof racks — and who has surf in Innisfail, there is no surfboards.

He had moo cow seatcovers and I had a Nissan Pintara and we used to go down to the Gold Coast and race each other down there. Let’s just say I’d beat him hands down all the time.

We met each other in 2001 at Brisbane Norths and it’s now 2017 and what’s been done is, I would never have thought the moments we had back in 2001 that we’d all be standing here today.

The thing that I’m most proud of is not that we’ve won some competitions or some individual medals or represented our states and our country.

I’m proud that I’ve been a part of both of them getting married, both of them having kids, both of them having a life that they can be tremendously proud of. Not only in the things that they’ve achieved but the people they are and the example they are for other people in this room and everyone at Melbourne Storm.

On partner Tara

People used to get up here and thank their wives and their girlfriends for their influence on them as people and the way they play.

I used to sit there when I was 19 and think, they don’t help you tackle or run. So why are you thanking them?

But after meeting Tara a few years back I understand why you say thank you now. Because while football is very important, life is way more important.

So she’s not here tonight but Melbourne Storm is the second best thing that’s ever happened to me, Tara’s number one and I thank you very much everything you’ve ever done for me.