Brenda Tracy

A troubling subject comes to light for Oregon football players.

Brenda Tracy is a survivor. Tracy. In 1998 she was gang raped by four men, two of which were football players at Oregon State. For years, the horrific incident haunted her and then in 2015, she confronted the despicable act and went back to Corvallis to meet with the Beaver football team in order to share with the young men there something that had too long been ignored. Since then she has shared her message with 23 other football programs.

 On Wednesday (Feb. 22) she was invited by Oregon Head Coach Willie Taggart to meet with his team and tell her story.

Hi Brenda, how did it go today at the University of Oregon?

BT: It was great!

Great to hear! Can you tell me how this all came about, did Oregon/Coach Taggart reach out to you? For reference, how do you label your talks with teams?

BT: I just call them talks. Coach Taggart and his team heard about me from the coaches at SMU. Trae Hackett, the Associate Athletic Director of Player Engagement, reached out to me on behalf of Coach Taggart.

How many schools do you think you have meet with?

BT: Probably 23 by now since this last summer after I visited Nebraska.

Was Nebraska your first talk?

BT: No, I spoke to the athletes at Oregon State first.

When was that, was Coach Riley then the coach?

BT: Fall 2015. No, he was in Nebraska by then.

Can you give me some insight into what these talks are like with the teams? Is it interactive, what is your message to these young men?

BT: I start by telling my personal story in an effort to humanize the issue, and then I talk to them about their influence as athletes to change this culture. Then I do Q&A, and we brainstorm ways they can get involved.

How much time do you get to spend with them?

BT: One hour.

What are some of the reactions you get? Questions or thoughts they have?

BT: I mostly get asked questions about my story, and what happened. Most popular idea is taking a stand against violence on social media and participating in activities on campus.

I want to say as a human, thank you for what you do, it takes a lot of courage to take this on, I really appreciate what you’re doing.

BT: Thank you!

Can you share a story on feedback that you may have received after doing one of these talks?                

BT: There are lots of them, but several times I have heard from players that look at survivors differently after my talk. They see that it is not just a girl making a claim, and how difficult it is for survivors to come forward, and then be treated unfairly. I have had young men disclose that they were abused, or that they have a mom or relative that was.

I have a feeling the problem is far worse than many of us can imagine.

BT: For sure. One in six male children has been abused. Stats say there are survivors in every room, on every team I visit.

That’s just scary. Have you talked with college students only, have any high school coaches reached out to you?

BT: High schools have been reaching out. I have not done one yet, but plan to. In my opinion, high school is where we need to start focusing.

As the father of three girls, one in high school, one in middle school, and a boy who plays football, I really hope more high school coaches reach out to you.

BT: I think they will. I think society is starting to figure out that you cannot totally re-program college kids. You have to get to them earlier.

Do you have a website or article that you would like me to link up with this Q&A for people to go check out?

BT: I have a website

Did you get a chance to meet with Coach Taggart?

BT: Yes, before and after.

What was he like? He seems very serious, with a zero tolerance policy on issues in regards to violence, guns, and drug use. Did he talk about that with you?

BT: He is the real deal. He sets the expectation for his team, and holds them accountable. Every coach should follow his example.

Well that is great to hear! Thank you so much for taking some time with me. I know you don’t know me, but I'm very proud of you, and the work you are doing a great job!

BT: I appreciate your support! Thank you for promoting my work.

eDuck Top Stories