Brenda Tracy, who allegedly was sexually assaulted 18 years ago by four men, spoke Wednesday to the Nebraska football team.
What makes the situation unique is that two of those four men played football for Nebraska coach Mike Riley, who was then the head coach at Oregon State. Riley has admitted he did not handle the situation well at the time, but met with Tracy to apologize to her and offered her the opportunity as an advocate for sexual assault victims to educate his current players.
“I told them, ‘At one point I hated this man more than my rapists,’” Tracy said of Riley, according to Nicole Auerbach of USA Today.
Back in 1998, Tracy allegedly was raped by four football players, two of which played for Oregon State. The charges were eventually dropped and Riley suspended his players for just one game.
“These are really good guys who made a bad choice,” Riley said at the time, according to The Washington Post’s Michael E. Miller.
The attack haunted Tracy and that statement from the Beavers coach made her feel even worse.
“I despised that man,” she told the Oregonian earlier this year. “I hated him with every cell in my body.”
But earlier this week Tracy came to Lincoln, Neb., and the two met for the first time since the incident in Riley’s office. The coach embraced Tracy and she cried on his shoulder for several minutes. Tracy, who has now become an advocate against sexual assault, not only delivered her message to the Cornhuskers, but also accepted Riley’s apology.
“I feel like he got it, the things I was saying to him, and the way he impacted me, I think he understood how much he impacted my life and how that decision hurt me,” she told the Lincoln Journal Star. “And I really feel like he would not do something like that again. I feel like he understands that lives are more valuable than win-loss record.”
— Brenda Tracy (@brendatracy24) June 23, 2016