Your article on R.A. Dickey and Kayla Harrison (Stand Up & Speak Out) was not only well written and moving but also sends a message about sexual abuse that is long overdue. It made me realize that the person who abused me when I was 16 is still out there and is possibly still preying on young girls. I see clearly now that I have a responsibility to finally speak the truth about what happened so that others might be spared.
Jennifer Pedley, Milford, Mich.
December 31, 2012
I, too, was molested when I was younger. I immediately knew something was wrong and found the courage to stop it after the first time. I helped put the man behind bars years later, but I still wonder how many others he hurt. Children see their coaches and mentors as idols and look up to them for guidance and acceptance. We all need to do more to open up the dialogue with our children in order to stop these monsters from doing this. Only then can we prevent others from getting hurt.
Justin Giffin, Livermore, Calif.
I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of multiple predators. Like Dickey, I also had a lot of problems in school, because I felt I had nowhere to go to express what was happening to me. In the end I used sports to get me through it all. While your article reopened wounds that will never truly heal, I do feel a sense of community knowing that others who endured similar abuses are willing to speak openly about it and were eventually able to go on and fulfill their dreams.
Ray Vance Men's and women's volleyball coach New Jersey City University Jersey City, N.J.
As a sexual abuse survivor myself, I am grateful not only to Gary Smith for writing such a compelling story about a topic that is still very taboo in our society but also to Dickey and Harrison for having the courage to share their story. Still, one point that deserves emphasis is the role lax parenting can play in cases of child sex abuse, especially in the sports world. Blindly turning a child over to a coach means allowing athletic ambition to overwhelm good judgment.
William P. Sizer, Nashville
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With the NHL canceling games through Jan. 14, do you think there is any chance the 2012--13 season will be salvaged?
Johnny Stats Lange: Everybody just needs to relax. They'll be back. Neither the NHL nor the NHLPA can afford not to play this season.
James McKenzie: At this point I want the league to call off the entire season and not come back until both sides have a 10-year deal and are ready to play a full season of hockey.
Carol McClellan: I don't think so. It just seems like commissioner Gary Bettman doesn't care what happens to the players or to the support staff that is being affected by the lockout.
Gerald Hamilton: There is a very good chance that the season will be canceled, but that might not be a bad thing. Bettman will probably get fired, but in the end the league should get the terms it needs to thrive.
Eric Broadhead: I hope they don't cancel the season—just so I can hear Bettman get vigorously booed when he hands out the Stanley Cup.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
"THE NCAA IS REQUESTING RECEIPTS FOR ALL THE HATS ON THE TABLE AT JABARI PARKER'S COLLEGE ANNOUNCEMENT."
JASON SMITH (@BREWSTERHOOPS)