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New Filings: Michigan AT Joked About Abusive Doc

Paul Steinbach

Two more former University of Michigan football players filed allegations in court Friday that current UM athletic trainer Paul Schmidt knew about the abusive practices of former team physician Robert Anderson and joked about it.

As reported by ESPN, the two anonymous former players say that assistant athletic director/head athletic trainer Schmidt and another employee identified only as "Murph" regularly told players who had to see Anderson to "go back there to Dr. A to drop your drawers." Anderson, who died in 2008, has been accused of sexually assaulting many former patients by conducting unnecessary rectal exams and "excessive genital fondling" during his 35-year career at the university.

The two players are part of a group of more than 20 men — many of them former Michigan athletes — who have filed an intent to sue the university, its board of regents and the estate of the deceased doctor. The university and its regents have been named in more than three dozen other lawsuits already filed by different law firms. According to the university, roughly 6,800 students played sports at Michigan during Anderson's three decades working with the athletic department. More than 300 people have retained lawyers in connection to Anderson's alleged abuse, according to estimates provided by several of the largest law firms involved in the burgeoning case, ESPN reported.

"The University of Michigan failed them," attorney Mick Grewal said in a news release Friday morning. "Failed to protect them, failed to stop an alleged serial predator. We represent and have spoken with over 100 survivors, including professional and collegiate football players, wrestlers, golfers, hockey players, pilots, and people from all walks of life and the pattern is the same. Over the last 4 decades, multiple employees at the University, including Assistant AD Paul Schmidt could have stopped Anderson."

Schmidt, who has been at Michigan since 1983 and a part of its athletic department since 1986, is the first current athletic department employee who has been publicly accused of overlooking Anderson's abuse.

"It was always just, like, hey, go see Dr. A. Go drop your drawers. I specifically remember Schmidty's laugh about it," one of the players said. "Like I can see him doing it. Murph was a little more quiet. I definitely remember Schmidty laughin' and cacklin' about it."

"The university has confidence in the independent investigation now underway by the WilmerHale law firm," university spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said Friday morning, as reported by ESPN. "This firm has deep expertise to conduct a thorough and unflinching review of the facts  wherever they may lead."

Fitzgerald said Friday morning that Schmidt's employment status with the school had not changed. Fitzgerald also said the school has thus far received 257 unique complaints about Anderson through a hotline it established in February for his former patients.

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