We all know what killed Jim Bartko.
I don’t think so you have written a more important piece. 1 in 6 men have been sexually abused. Very few find the strength and courage to walk through the shame of it. The cost to themselves and those they love and can’t help but abuse is incalculable. I work with broken men and the families they in turn break for a living. I can’t thank you enough for turning a light on some of the cost. If only one man finds the courage to say, “this happened to me...” because of your words, you will have made a change in the world that will affect hundreds. Over generations. So, thank you.
Such a sad ending to what seemed to be a really good man. He seemed to have so much going for him but alas those demons and the ugliness he was exposed to.
Thanks so much for keeping the human voice in your column no matter how painful some are. Keep writing. John.
John--I first met Jim at the Multnomah Athletic Club at a weekly Duck luncheon and we just clicked as friends. For 30 years, I spoke with Jim every 1-2 weeks!! I miss him greatly!! When I was working in MN an MO, he would call me faithfully every week to update me on the Ducks!! He was one of my closest friends and someone I could always count on 100%. I would fly out from MO for every home football game and we would always meet in his office before the games!! Thank you for remembering him in your article!! RIP Jimbo!!!--Jim Gimarelli, Yachats OR
Well done John. It is writing like this column that confirms to me that you are on the right track in your current career chapter.
Stories like this are why I subscribe. When he lamented not speaking up as a 7-year-old "so others wouldn't get hurt" it's heartbreaking. As a Fresno State alum I hope they pick up the stadium renovation he started.
Such a well written piece. Thanks for shining a light on a subject a lot of men won’t talk about. Perhaps someone going through the same terrible situation will read this and seek help.
John you did your friend proud. Thanks again for writing it
Sports isn’t just about the score board or win-loss records. Thanks for reminding us.
John, a difficult and sad read but again, we would all benefit from more of this kind of reporting. My admiration for your courage in writing these real life stories. Hang in!
Why I subscribe.
Nice piece, John, and a real tribute to Jim Barko.
Your columns are usually outstanding, but this is another level. Thank you.
God Bless his soul and his family And God Bless you and your family John.
You do such awesome people pieces. Your good at sports , but great at telling the stories of other people. Thank you
Wow. Thanks for sharing this John.
Thank you for this heartbreaking story, John. I knew Jim when he was a fresh-faced fundraiser for the U of O Athletic Fund. He'd visit me in Medford every six months or so to press the flesh and pocket the checks. I had no idea of the absolute pain he was hiding behind that boyish smile. Since moving away from Oregon I had fallen out of contact with Jim but heard of his job at Fresno. I've known people both in Oregon and here in the northeast who have been preyed upon by Catholic priests in their youth. I'm relatively sure that eternal damnation awaits these abusers some day, but I wish the Church and our Judicial system had meted out harsher punishment while they walked this planet.
WOW, John!!! What an impactful and honest email. There are so many takeaways from this. Sabi made a wonderful argument below regarding how the church let Jim and the hundreds of other victims down. We all pray for good to come from negative events and situations. My hope and prayer is that an empathetic donor comes forward to help with the stadium project. In a perfect world, is that Phil Knight because of Jim's working relationship with him? Only time will tell.