Jim Brandstatter has been one of the radio voices of Michigan football since 1980, first doing color and then taking over play-by-play duties in 2014. Before that, he played football at Michigan from 1969 to 1972 under then-new coach Bo Schembechler.
Over the last week, Brandstatter has come to the defense of his old coach following accusations Schembechler had covered up or ignored complaints of sexual abuse by team doctor Robert Anderson. Via ESPN:
Anderson served in a variety of roles at the University of Michigan from 1966 to 2003, working closely with the athletic department for most of that time. More than 800 former patients have made legal claims that Anderson sexually assaulted them during physical exams and other routine medical appointments. Anderson died in 2008, a decade before claims about his abuse were widely publicized.
On Wednesday, Matt Schembechler said he was sexually assaulted by Anderson in 1969 when he was 10 years old. Matt Schembechler said that when he told his father what happened shortly after his appointment, the coach told his son he didn't want to hear about it. Bo Schembechler then "put hands on" his wife, Millie, and punched his son in the chest, Matt Schembechler said.
Matt Schembechler also said his father had blocked an attempt to fire Anderson in 1972. Glenn "Shemy" Schembechler, Matt Schembechler's brother and Bo's other son, told ESPN he does not believe his brother and defended his father, saying he would have stopped the abuse of the players if he had known.
Jim Harbaugh also defended Schembechler last week saying he would not have looked the other way, but one of his Michigan teammates from the early 80's, wide receiver Gilvanni Johnson, said he was assaulted multiple times by Anderson and Schembechler told him he would check on that. It was the last Anderson ever heard about it.
As for Brandstatter, he's concerned that Schembechler gets a proper defense. Over the weekend, he went on WWJ 950 and basically said he hopes this doesn't hurt Michigan's ability to fundraise. Transcribed by Detroit Sports Nation:
“Think about the people that are the most – the highest contributors for instance, to the University of Michigan. They’re probably in the ages of 45-50 to 75-80. They probably contribute a whole lot of money. And if one of their icons is – they feel unjustly being prosecuted, I don’t know if they’ll be as friendly with their money. Who knows? I don’t know. I’m just saying that I know a lot of people are disappointed that the University hasn’t come to the defense of some of these guys, but we’re in a society and environment of wokeness that, again, you and I both talked about, putting a bullseye on your back if you come out and defense someone.”
Brandstatter had other concerns about money as well. Specifically concerned that accusers had monetary motivation.
“What are you suing for? There’s a motivation. What’s the motivation? Well, you and I can talk about it, you just said it. Fear of being labeled the guy who is accusing the accuser – same thing with me. I just – Just ask the question. How much is there a compensatory, monetary settlement that you’re looking for? There’s a motivation there, I would think. I’m not trying to be mean or lawyer-like. I’m just saying, that’s a question that should be asked.”
Brandstatter also seemed to discredit the allegations of Dan Kwiatkowski because he was dismissed from the team.
“One of the players who made the charges against him, Dan Kwiatkowski, was dismissed from the football team in 1980 because of drug related issues that he had within the team. He said – I don’t want to attack the accuser, there’s a fine line you walk when you do that.”
As Michigan deals with the fallout from these accusations, we can probably guess how this ends for Brandstatter if he continues with this line of "defense" for his college coach.