Two Sides to Every Story
Being an outsider to the continuing story of Dr. Larry Nassar and the young gymnasts who suffered abuse on his physical therapy table, creates an opportunity to analyze the various points of view. Michigan Lawyer Shannon Smith has the unhappy job of being on the legal team defending Dr. Larry. But she’s cool with that.
In a recent radio interview, Shannon took a protective position for herself and Dr. Larry, saying that he is entitled to the best defense she can offer.
DETROIT (WWJ): “Speaking exclusively to WWJ Newsradio 950, Attorney Shannon Smith said a ‘huge part’ of her does not believe all the women and girls who have come forward were abused by Nassar…I think Larry Nassar comes off as a really great person. There is no doubt he did a lot of good for a lot of his patients,” Smith told WWJ. “While people are criticizing the techniques he used, there is undeniably proof that those techniques would take a girl who came into his office unable to walk and fix her in a way that she was able to compete the next day. So, I see good in Larry Nassar.” source
CNN did a follow-up interview with Shannon Smith. Here’s what she said, “There was no way there could have been so much,” she said. “Larry would have to have been doing this all day, every day, with no one catching on. This is a guy who put child pornography in a trash can. He’s not a savvy guy.” source
In the image below, Dr. Larry approaches the young woman’s arm by reaching across her chest — from behind — instead of standing in front or to the side of her. He’s copping a feel in plain sight. And that’s how you get the quantity to ramp up with efficiency. As the years went by with no punishment or requests to stop, Larry’s “treatments just got worse and more invasive.
Casting Doubt on the Victims, Backfires for Dr. Larry’s Attorney, Shannon Smith
DramaGuru Smash: To Whitewash or Not to Whitewash?
In any situation, the people who listen and watch from the outside can be influenced by the players directly involved in the problem. In the case of Dr. Larry vs Gymnasts, by casting doubt, Larry’s attorney is attempting to gain some supportive audience members to be on his side.
To me, Shannon is attempting to whitewash the situation.
Whitewash: to gloss over or cover up (such as vices or crimes), to exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data
I decided to do a DramaGuru Smash based on what Shannon Smith said in her interviews. I chose three (3) DramaGuru cards to represent the game Attorney Shannon is playing in her conversations with the media.
1. Transition: Power Play – Deflect and Redirect
By suggesting that young gymnasts jumped on the bandwagon to say “me-too” — because all the other girls were doing it, is going to be difficult to prove. But, damage is done, just by suggesting that the girls were drawn in to some sort of campaign — like a witch hunt — to disgrace Dr. Larry Nassar.
Casting doubt, with a raised eyebrow is a classic way to “transition” someone from a powerful position to a weaker one. People were on board, but now…maybe some of those people get wobbly and begin to wonder if Shannon’s argument might be true. Some of those people will swing over to question whether so many girls were abused.
However, Shannon’s argument is a waste of time. She is muddying the water for no reason. He abused more than one girl.
Transitioning by Deflecting and Redirecting moves the focus from “there’s a problem with Larry” to “there’s a problem with the girls”.
2. Cornerman Situation Analysis: Problem Type
What’s the problem? According to Attorney Shannon, Dr. Larry helped gymnasts recover faster and return to training faster than they would have if he hadn’t worked on them. It’s like she’s saying, “Hey! Good stuff happened too!”
According to the testimony of over 160 girls and young women, illegal touching happened.
From Shannon’s point of view, the girls banding together are the problem that she needs to address. How can she stop more girls from jumping on the bandwagon, claiming that Dr. Larry molested them?
- Code Green: Fly buzzing around, easy to deal with
- Code Yellow: Stubborn Bull, Elephant in the Room, Brooding Hippo
- Code Red: Snake slithering around you, Frog jumping all over you
Shannon pulls a switcheroo by suggesting that some of the girls are saying they were molested because they’ve been listening to the stories revealed in the court room.
For Shannon and Dr. Larry, the girls have become the frogs (problems) jumping all over Larry, making him squirm, flinch and feel uncomfortable.
And because that’s true, the girls really are acting like frogs jumping all over him with their testimony, Shannon’s attempt to switch the audience to feeling empathy for Larry — backfires.
3. Judo Flip, BJJ Sweep: Gain a New Perspective
Trying to get the audience to see the world through Larry’s eyes doesn’t work. She’s just trying to figure out how to salvage a terrible situation. Larry’s ship has capsized. Because she’s accepted the job of defending Larry, Shannon has to wait until the last-minute before she can jump overboard, like a rat leaving a sinking ship.
Then there’s the “we-have-access-to-confidential-info” ploy, with a Grandiose insult attack thrown in for good measure.
Attorney Shannon Smith: “When you are not a lawyer on the case seeing the evidence, it’s really easy to Monday morning quarterback,” she said. “When I see the opinions coming in on Nassar’s criminal case, I almost laugh sometimes and wonder if they were in the same courtroom as me. And it’s because there is so much evidence that the general public does not have access to.” source
Summary: Attorney Shannon Smith has no leg to stand on with convincing the public to give Dr. Larry some wiggle room. One girl was one too many. Without establishing a strong position to fight from, Shannon has no hope of convincing anyone of cutting Dr. Larry some slack.
The best DramaGuru players understand that you need to establish a position, transition (push) your opponent into a corner and then launch your attacks.
Now the girls are banding together to make sure he is punished. And that is a perfect use of the Eddie Attack to fight back against a perpetrator or opponent and punish with permission.
The Eddie Attack makes them dangerous.
And that’s important, because even though Shannon Smith doesn’t have a strong position to fight from, she is working hard to push anyone who will listen into DramaGuru Ostrich position…and that makes her dangerous.
Defensive Attorney Conversation: Hey, people! Go back to sleep…the girls are exaggerating…they just want to be included, that’s why they’re “victimized”…let me handle it…just ignore them and go back to your busy lives.
And to give you comfort with your switch to “maybe it didn’t happen to all of them”, Shannon shifts to being reasonable. This is the exact conversation that will shift some people to her side. She connects something you believe — and can agree with — with some undisclosed information that you don’t have access to. Get ready to fall into her Ostrich trap!
Attorney Shannon Smith: “At the end of the day, Smith said the case should serve as an important warning for doctors to think seriously about protecting themselves, because they could one day be in Nassar’s shoes.
‘All doctors, while it is not illegal to see a patient without a chaperone in the room, should have a chaperone in the room. I have learned that while it is not illegal to touch someone with an ungloved hand, patients expect gloves and if you’re not going to use gloves, you need to explain that,’ she said. ‘I would encourage them to write the techniques down on paper and have clients sign explicit forms that they were advised of what the treatment would be like, they were advised of how they would be touched and that they understood it and consented to it. … By doing that, I believe it would protect patients from being victimized and also protect doctors from false allegations’.” source
Now, that makes me laugh. Attorney Shannon is reminding medical professionals how to conduct themselves with patients.
As if, any parent would knowingly allow Dr. Larry to touch their daughters in the way that he did.
People! Don’t fall into the Ostrich trap that Attorney Shannon Smith is setting for you.
Practice Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) for your mouth. This article is a purple belt DramaGuru lesson.
Brick Wall by Mari Clevanger, unsplash Marl Clevenger
Dr. Larry Nassar with his arm draped across young woman’s chest, source
All DramaGuru cards designed by Cheryl Ragsdale.