Former Baltimore Colt Joe Ehrmann To Speak At Summit On Child Sex Abuse | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Former Baltimore Colt Joe Ehrmann To Speak At Summit On Child Sex Abuse

Play associated audio

The Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal cast a spotlight on the dark intersection of youth athletes and sexual abuse. The organizers of a two-day conference in the District beginning today want to help put an end to this vile crime and help its survivors.

During the '70s, Joe Ehrmann, the president of Coach for America, was a tackle for the Baltimore Colts. He later became a Christian minister working with inner-city youth on issues of masculinity and violence. As a high school football coach, he created the approach of "building men for others" and last year on the last page of his second best-selling book, the 63-year-old Joe Ehrman faced his greatest shame.

"I was brutally beaten and raped as a 12-year-old boy," Ehrmann says. "But I never told a single human being. I never even allowed myself to think about it for 47 years."

Ehrmann will be a keynote speaker today at a conference called Safe To Compete: Protecting Child Athletes from Sexual Abuse.

"For 47 years I lived with the shame, with the pain, all the manifesting anger," Ehrmann says. "You know, things like childhood sexual abuse in sports, they exist because of the silence, the secrecy, the sense of shame about that topic. And what I've learned is that I don't have to be ashamed about what happened to me."

Safe To Compete is co-sponsored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and will feature experts such as forensic pediatrician Dr. Sharon Cooper.

"Sometimes when parents are really focused on their child's athletic abilities, particularly if they have the aspiration that their child will become a professional athlete, they can be groomed into allowing more access and less parental supervision, etc., from those who are going to be coaches," Cooper says.

Some of the largest youth serving organizations in the country that are involved in sports will learn about best practices to protect young athletes, says Ehrmann.

"My goal is, you know, at the end of this two-day summit, is that no coach in America would ever say what Joe Paterno said: 'I wish I would have done more,'" says Ehrmann. "Every parent that has a child playing youth sports in America they ought to be able to go that coach or the head of that league and they ought to say whats different? tell me why my child is now safer as a result of the Jerry Sandusky trial."

NPR

A Punch Line In The U.S., Christmas Fruitcake Is Big In Calcutta

Seen as indestructible in the West, fruitcakes are indispensable in the bustling Hindu city. Bakers of all faiths have the ovens running round the clock to feed Calcutta's appetite for the cakes.
NPR

A Punch Line In The U.S., Christmas Fruitcake Is Big In Calcutta

Seen as indestructible in the West, fruitcakes are indispensable in the bustling Hindu city. Bakers of all faiths have the ovens running round the clock to feed Calcutta's appetite for the cakes.
NPR

What To Expect In The 2016 Presidential Announcement Season

With Jeb Bush signaling he's likely to run for president in 2016, it's another sign that the presidential announcement season is underway. Here's a look at who has jumped in the race early and what to expect in the coming months.
NPR

2014 Hashtags: #BringBackOurGirls Made Nigerian Schoolgirls All Of 'Ours'

As part of a series on hashtag activism in 2014, Audie Cornish speaks with Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Open Society Foundation. Ezekwesili was one of the early promoters of the hashtag #bringbackourgirls, about schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria in April.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.