ESPN has earned a Peabody Award for its coverage of the Larry Nassar trial and subsequent sentencing that included over 140 of his accusers — collectively called the “sister survivors” — filling the 2018 ESPYS stage last July.
The cross-platform coverage that is cumulatively referred to as “Spartan Silence” was recognized by the Peabody Awards as a winner in the “News/Radio & Podcast/Web/Public Service” category, ESPN announced on Tuesday. The network’s “E:60,” “Outside the Lines,” espnW and “SportsCenter” share the honor.
“This Peabody Award-winning work is among the most impactful journalism the ESPN team has produced in our 40 years of exemplary storytelling,” ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement. “The image of over 140 ‘sister survivors’ on our ESPYS stage last summer will endure, as will the significance of the Peabody Board of Jurors’ esteemed recognition of our efforts.”
“This work is some of the most important we have ever done — and ever may do,” Alison Overholt, vice president and editor-in-chief, ESPN The Magazine, espnW and the ESPYS, continued. “It is not overstating things to say that our team members who worked on the many elements that comprise ‘Spartan Silence,’ from the original investigative work into Nassar, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State, to the Arthur Ashe Award presentation at The ESPYS, to the espnW special ‘Being Believed,’ are forever changed by the experience.”
In January 2018, former Michigan sports doctor Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after being accused of sexual abuse by more than 150 women. The accusers, many of them young Olympic athletes or children, said they trusted Nassar to care for them when they had injuries.
This marks the seventh time in 20 years that ESPN has been awarded a Peabody, winning its first for “SportsCentury” in 1999. Its most recent came for 2016’s Oscar-winning “OJ: Made in America.”
Earlier this month, “Spartan Silence” won the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for Sports Investigations.