Our Sports Heroes Are Criminals!

        For years crimes against children have been perpetrated. For years domestic violence has existed, but not until our sports heroes were revealed as perpetrators has it caused a national media storm like it has right now.

        Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Adrian Peterson are just some of the athletes who have been revered and looked up to by millions of fans and we now know are the same men who have allegedly committed horrendous crimes against women and children. And because of their celebrity, they have been allowed to get away with it for far too long. It makes you wonder, how many others we don’t know about.

        Say what you want about the dangers and damage of social media, but in these cases it has helped the country to “see” the abuse in real time. It would be another whole blog to discuss why people have to actually “see” abuse to believe it is happening and do something about it, so we will save our comments about that…..the fact is that the world has now seen through video and pictures, horrific abuse of women and children and we can no longer turn away and say it does not exist. Domestic violence and child abuse exist, are happening right now and we must work now to end the epidemic.

        Let’s discuss the reason for this blog: the real heroes….the doctors who reported child abuse in the Adrian Peterson case. As we have seen through decades of abuse, many mandated reporters have looked the other way and remained silent when it came to celebrities. Money, fame, status, and celebrity have come before the protection of our children. We see it every day and until the media takes hold of the story the world forgets.

        It was not that long ago that Penn State and the Sandusky child abuse scandal made the front page and was the lead story on every news program but it slipped out of the forefront. No one wants to think about it, no one wants to talk about it and the inaction is what causes child abuse to continue.

        So again, back to the real heroes in this case – the doctors who put the protection of children over the celebrity of an NFL player. They saw abuse before they saw “celebrity”, they reported the abuse. If they didn’t report we would never know about this one case of alleged child abuse by NFL celebrity, famed “Community man of the year” Adrian Peterson.

        What will happen now? Will these celebrities lose their jobs and go to jail? Will the heads of the NFL and the owners and staff of the sports teams be held culpable for the part they played in hiding criminal activity? Will the world make a statement by not supporting these teams, athletes and institutions that look the other way when it comes to their players’criminal behavior? Up to now, money, fame and winning have come before the protection of our children and the safety of women. We have the chance now to change how we react to child abuse and domestic violence. We need to be proactive not reactive. We the fans need to show the world that we will not support, attend or pay to watch celebrities who are criminals play their sport. Until the NFL and other major league organizations feel it in their pocket, the silence of child abuse and protection of their players will continue.

Written by Sally Berenzweig, MEd, MA & Cherie Benjoseph, LCSW – Child Safety Experts, Mental Health Therapist, Educators, Authors, Public Speakers and Cofounders of 501(c)3 nonprofit KidSafe Foundation www.kidsafefoundation.org



"Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be included in the KidSafe program. I highly recommend this program to other schools. We hope that we will be given the same opportunity for our Kindergarten and 2nd grade students to be a part of this wonderful program during the 2016-2017 school year."

Mrs. Keelyn Meselsohn 2nd Grade Teacher/Team Leader Tradewinds Elementary School

"The Safe and Smart Series Book My Body Is Special and Belongs To Me is kept in my middle school clinic and has been a tool that has opened many conversations for me between students that have experienced a difficult situation and were unable to talk about it. Through the illustrations and nonjudgmental verbiage the author has allowed kids permission to share their feelings about invasion of their personal space. Thank you so much."

Nurse Connie, PBC School Nurse 6.8.2016

"I'm so grateful that KidSafe has partnered with my daughter's school.  I learned so much in the parent training--how to recognize potential sexual predator behavior; how to quiz my child about what they would do in different scenarios; and how to explain safe and unsafe touch.  In addition, knowing that my daughter is receiving weekly trainings on these topics gives me great peace of mind.  I have confidence that I can reinforce what she is learning in school in order to prevent her from ever being a victim of such a heinous crime.  Thank you KidSafe for your dedication to protecting our communities' most vulnerable citizens."

Christina Kranick

“It was a normal Saturday and I was at the rink with my 7 and 8 year old. My son asked me if he could use the Men’s Restroom by himself.  Without hesitation, my daughter said,  Absolutely not! I was in KidSafe today and you cannot go to the restroom alone.  It is very important that Mommy is with you.. with us.   I was so proud of my little girl!  We are so blessed to have Debbie Miller at our school teaching our children the importance of safety. Many thanks to you all!  Your program and instruction is absolutely amazing.  Keep up the great work!"  

Tara Henley Admissions Assistant, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and School, Ft. Lauderdale

I am a parent of two Pine Crest children and I attended your program on Monday night. I just wanted to thank you so very much for the very informative seminar. As hard as it was to hear all of those things, it was very needed. We were thrilled that you were able to come and share that very important information with us and our children. So again...thank you.

Elisa Aronberg

Today’s training was awesome! It was very informative. Sally was a very good resource, she motivated us a lot! We want to pass on this information to parents, teachers and students! Thank you for offering workshops like this. These are tools we use to continue serving our children and families.

Participant from Children’s Services Council of Broward Seminar

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