Former Pro Bowl DB Dwight Hicks latest Michigan football alum to allege abuse by Dr. Robert Anderson
Dwight Hicks was once seduced by the aura surrounding his alma mater – the winged helmets, the Block M, the dramatic “Hail to the Victors” fight song.
He couldn’t wait to leave his home in New Jersey and become a Michigan man.
“I sought out and traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan, with all the hopes and dreams of an 18-year-old just starting out in life,” he said.
But when he arrived there as a football player in 1974, he was introduced to Dr. Robert Anderson, the late team physician who is accused of sexual abuse by numerous men examined by him during routine physicals and other visits.
“What happened to me in that room with Dr. Anderson,” Hicks said, “I have no words for.”
Hicks, a retired safety who went on to play eight years in the NFL and earned four Pro Bowl invitations with the San Francisco 49ers, recounted his experiences with Anderson during a news conference Wednesday. Hicks said his goal was to provide a voice for other victims but wouldn’t go as far to corroborate a claim that former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler knew of Anderson’s behavior, which was made by an unidentified former student play-by-play announcer in a lawsuit filed last month.
With attorneys Parker Stinar and James White beside him, Hicks became the latest former Michigan football player to speak publicly about his encounters with Anderson after tight end Chuck Christian and running back Jon Vaughn shared their memories of abuse.
“The University of Michigan has a student population of 2-to-5% black individuals, yet nearly 50% of the victims of Dr. Anderson were black men,” said Stinar.
Stinar, whose firm represents more than 100 clients with claims against Anderson, called for all victims, regardless of color, to receive fair compensation as the university grapples with hundreds of lawsuits. Anderson, who died in 2008, worked at Michigan from 1968 to 2003. A complaint against Anderson prompted campus police to launch an investigation in 2018. The university followed suit in February, soliciting information from victims. It has since acknowledged abuse occurred.
“For many, there is shame, embarrassment and anger,” said emergency medicine physician Airron Richardson, a former All-American wrestler at Michigan in the 1990s who joined Hicks at the news conference Wednesday to share his claim.
As years went by, Hicks said he “suppressed some of the things that happened to me because I just thought it was part of the process.”
But then he saw others tell their stories about their experiences with Anderson.
And while some of his former teammates were reluctant to come forward, Hicks, who went on to become an actor, felt compelled to speak up as well.
“Something needs to be done desperately,” he said. “I still love the University of Michigan and I hope the University of Michigan understands and acknowledges what happened to so many of us. And I would hope they would recognize the trauma that was bestowed on us. But there can always be a reconciliation. And I hope the University of Michigan will mean and stand for, ‘Hail to the Victors,’ the leaders and best.”
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