RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — The status of Pop Warner football in Riviera Beach for the upcoming season is uncertain due to concerns raised by the conference regarding the involvement of the city’s athletic consultant and his troubled history.
Abram Elam, a former NFL player, has established a notable presence in the city. Through his non-profit organization, he has positively impacted numerous children within the community over the past ten years.
Elam holds the position of the city’s contracted Athletic Consultant and is responsible for overseeing athletic programs, including the Treasure Coast Conference Pop Warner initiative.
However, this same organization has raised doubts following the revelation of Elam’s criminal history from more than two decades ago, which resulted in a sex offender registration. This matter was discussed during a recent city council meeting.
A resident addressed the issue, stating, “I’d like to comment on Abe Elam. This information has been known for years, and there is no evidence to support the claims he is being accused of.”
Elam’s past involves a sexual assault accusation during his time playing college football at Notre Dame in 2002. This incident led to his expulsion due to a sexual battery conviction. Despite these difficulties, he managed to secure positions with NFL teams such as the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Dallas Cowboys.
Mayor Ronnie Felder defended Elam and the city’s vetting process, expressing confidence in the clearance provided by the chief of police. The mayor also emphasized his commitment to supporting Elam and lamented attempts to tarnish his reputation.
CBS12 News obtained an email sent to city officials from the Executive Director of Pop Warner, expressing concerns about Elam’s background. The email referenced previous instances where former NFL players were involved in similar situations.
Guidelines from the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were cited, suggesting that individuals with felony convictions, especially those related to violent crimes, should be barred from associations with youth-service organizations.
However, the city’s Deputy City Manager countered by stating that Elam’s conviction was related to an adult, not a minor. The city is seeking clarification from Pop Warner, as there is hesitancy to sever ties with the former football star.
Elizabeth T. McBride, writing on behalf of the city, informed Pop Warner that they will take appropriate actions in accordance with governing rules as participating members of the conference.
Emphasizing the city’s commitment to the safety of children in its Parks and Recreation activities, McBride assured that all information about Elam would be shared with the city manager.