Former legendary NFL quarterback Joe Namath has been accused of tolerating and covering up child sex abuse at his football camp, according to the New York Post.
Phillip Lyle Smith told the Post that Brooklyn Poly Prep Country Day School coach Philip Foglietta sexually abused him at the Joe Namath Instructional Football Camp in 1972 and for multiple years after that, the outlet reported Sunday.
Foglietta, who died in 1998, was later revealed to be a serial sexual predator, the Post noted. (RELATED: Teacher Charged With Allegedly Molesting Special Needs Student After Co-Worker Catches Him In Suspicious Position)
Smith, 64, alleged in court papers that Foglietta began sexually abusing him at the age of 12, per the outlet. In the same documents — part of an ongoing lawsuit he filed in 2019 under the name “John Doe” — Smith also lambasted Namath and others named in the lawsuit as “enablers and the pedophile protectors,” the Post reported. The lawsuit targets Namath and the camp, among other defendants, according to the outlet.
“Back in those days, Joe Namath was my idol,” Smith told the Post, “And he went from my hero to a zero in my life.”
Namath is accused of knowing about the sexual assault and covering it up.
From the report: “Philip Lyle Smith, the alleged victim,… pic.twitter.com/ngw7rBkquC
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 20, 2023
“This case is equally about the many adults in positions of power at the [camp] including Joe Namath and [ex-Jets defensive back and camp partner John] Dockery, who were aware of, tolerated and covered up known sexual abuse at the camp, abuse that had a lasting effect on Doe,” court documents explain, per the Post.
Smith also claims that while Foglietta was sexually abusing him, he was granted special privileges such as personal access to Joe Namath and other professional football players, the outlet reported. He says the former football coach even allowed him to eat in the camp lunchroom with Namath, per the Post.
“It was a dream come true for a 12-year-old,” Smith said, according to the outlet. “[Foglietta] always made sure Joe Namath threw me at least one pass almost every single day and said hello to me almost every single day.”
“I was feeling very special,” Smith added, describing the special perks as “part of his grooming to abuse me,” per the Post.
Smith also alleges that Foglietta made him sleep in the same room with him, that he would masturbate in front of Smith and that he once “tried to masturbate me, but I was 12 years old — I couldn’t achieve an erection,” the Post reported.
“He would actually show me pornography and pornographic magazines to try to arouse me at the Joe Namath camp,” Smith claimed, per the outlet. “In the morning it was like nothing ever happened. ‘Come on, Phil, we’ll go get breakfast.'”
Smith says the sexual abuse continued for two to three years at the camp, according to the lawsuit.
In 2012, Poly Prep, an elite prep school in New York City, settled a lawsuit stemming from Foglietta’s decades of sexual predation against students. In 2014, the school issues a public statement acknowledging the abuse and apologizing for its handling of the situation.
Namath played for the New York Jets from 1965 to 1976 and led the team to victory in Super Bowl III. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.