New York Jets legend Joe Namath has been accused of covering up sexual abuse at his football facility, according to a man who claims he was assaulted there.
Philip Lyle Smith, 64, has alleged in a Brooklyn lawsuit that well-known Brooklyn Poly Prep Country Club football coach Philip Foglietta sexually abused him 51 years ago at a Joe Namath Instructional Football Camp.
Foglietta, who died in 1998, sexually abused boys at the top New York private school over a 20-year period. The Brooklyn prep school was accused of covering up the abuse and settled a landmark lawsuit brought by former pupils in 2012.
It has now been alleged that the former football coach was allowed to repeatedly abuse Smith in a series of attacks starting when he was just 12 at the camp, Smith claimed in court papers.
Smith initially detailed his claims in the lawsuit under ‘John Doe’ but has now spoken publicly. Now a married Florida real-estate broker, he claimed to The New York Post that Namath and other defendants listed in the lawsuit were ‘enablers and the pedophile protectors.’
New York Jets legend Joe Namath has been accused of covering up sexual abuse at his facility
Philip Lyle Smith, 64, alleged that well-known Brooklyn Poly Prep Country Club football coach Philip Foglietta sexually abused him 51 years ago at a Joe Namath Instructional Football Camp
Foglietta, who died in 1998, sexually abused boys at the top New York private school
His lawsuit claims that he received special treatment, which included perks such as eating meals with Namath, ex-Jets defensive back and camp partner John Dockery and other NFL players who visited the facility, while he was allegedly being groomed and abused by Foglietta at the camp.
‘It was a dream come true for a 12-year-old,’ Smith said to The Post. ‘[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,’ he said.
The preferential treatment even went as far as to lead other campers to believe that Smith, who was a student at Poly Prep at the time, was Namath’s nephew due to the special recognition, the lawsuit claims.
He claimed that the special treatment was used by Foglietta to justify the sexual abuse.
‘Every night he’d say, “See what I did? . . . You have pictures with so and so . . . Joe talked to you . . . How you can do that without me?”‘ Smith said, via The Post. ‘That was part of his grooming to abuse me.’
Smith hailed Namath as ‘one of the greatest athletes in the world’ but his opinion on the former quarterback soon soured.
‘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.’
Smith claimed that he received special treatment, which included perks such as eating meals with Namath, while he was allegedly being groomed and abused by Foglietta
Other campers believed that Smith was Namath’s nephew due to the special recognition
Poly Prep was accused of covering up the abuse by Foglietta and settled a landmark lawsuit brought by former pupils in 2012
Smith claimed that the former quarterback ‘went from my hero to a zero in my life’
Namath pictured giving instruction at one of his camps in 1974 during an ABC series
He also claimed that due to Namath’s profile and reputation as a great player in the NFL, Smith’s mother believed he would be safe at the camp.
‘It was a place my mother [thought] would create wonderful childhood memories for me,’ he said. ‘Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.’
Smith had attended the camp as an invited guest of Foglietta, who ‘sponsored’ his attendance, and the football coach allegedly had insisted he sleep in his room, according to the filing.
The lawsuit claims that Namath and Dockery should have known about the sleeping arrangement but ‘failed to take measures to protect plaintiff from Foglietta despite being on notice of Foglietta’s unusual and exceptional closeness to plaintiff.’
Smith’s lawsuit further alleges that he was forced to sleep in the same bed as Foglietta, despite a cot being delivered to the room by a camp counselor. Foglietta allegedly never brought the cot into the room.
Namath pictured with ex-Jets defensive back and camp partner John Dockery (right)
In the room, ‘Foglietta forced [Smith] to “strip naked for fully body inspections,” showed him “soft-core pornography,” and “fondled [Plaintiff’s] penis and anus …” under the guise that “this is what people who love each other do.”
Foglietta regularly brought his Poly Prep players to the Namath summer camps in Vermont and Massachusetts but the other students bunked together in a few rooms, according to the suit.
Smith said that Foglietta appeared to take a liking to him following his dad’s death with the abuse starting in 1972 at the Namath Camp and continuing during visits to the camps in 1973 and 1975.
The defendants’ motion to dismiss the case was denied in June 2022. DailyMail.com has contacted the lawyer for Namath, Dockery and the camp for comment but has not yet received response.