Like the rest of the nation, I was horrified and outraged to hear about the allegations against the administration at Penn State and its coaching staff regarding its complacency toward Jerry Sandusky and the heinous acts he is accused of committing on the university’s campus. As the mother of a toddler boy, it is easy to imagine the betrayal felt by the families and victims that could have been saved if just one person had put aside concern for image and success and done the right thing.
As easy as it is to vilify head coach Joe Paterno and the rest of the staff at Penn State, we have to admit that this situation is not an isolated one. How many times a year do we hear about part of a community turning a blind eye to the indecent acts, or clear suffering, of others? Remember the incident in Hartford, Connecticut three years ago when a pedestrian was struck by a hit-and-run driver and cars continued to drive past him as he lay in the street? That may have been an extreme example, but lack of empathy for the weak and victimized is not limited to big-time football programs.
Beginning the week of Thanksgiving and continuing through the holidays, Naptime Huddle will profile several charitable organizations that have been founded by current and former NFL players who are concerned with bettering their communities. However, I wanted to go ahead and let you know now about an organization devoted to helping the victims of child sex abuse.
Heath Evans is a retired fullback who played for the Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints, and is currently a correspondent for the NFL Network. He and his wife are founders of the Heath Evans Foundation, which is based in Palm Beach Florida and operates in that area and in the greater New Orleans community. Evans also makes speaking appearances in schools and other venues around the country; he has been interviewed several times on television and radio in the past week.
In addition to raising awareness of the issue of sexual abuse through speaking engagements and events, the Foundation also helps victims and families through counseling. Through healing, the hope is that the cycle of abuse will stop with the victim and that the victim will not let him- or herself be defined by the past. The Foundation also trains workforces on recognizing the signs of abuse and provides resources for parents and the general public.
I hope you will take a moment to check out the Foundation’s website at www.heathevans.org. Donations are always welcome, but you should also check out their Resources page, and particularly their open letter, “What Every Parent Should Know.” Also, the Foundation’s Facebook page posts updates on Foundation events, Heath’s interviews and other developments.
Thank you for taking the time to read today’s post. I hope it will help you process what has happened this past week.