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When former NFL player Brian Holloway recently discovered that his empty house in upstate New York had been trashed by hundreds of partying teens, he saw an opportunity to start a larger conversation about responsibility and substance abuse.
What he perhaps didn’t expect was that parents of those teens would threaten to sue him for identifying their children on his website.
Holloway learned of the Aug. 31 party via Twitter while he was away in Florida. He used the posts and images from the social media service to identify teens who bragged about the party and photographed each other in Holloway’s home. At one point, Holloway’s site listed 100 names of people he suspected were involved in wrecking his home.
“I’ve enclosed a list that is not confirmed,” Holloway wrote on his site. “I am posting it for the sole purpose of helping to identify the people that were not there; and that way they can be removed from the list we are building through evidence, eye witnesses and other students who were there.”
It appears those names have since been removed, but screenshots of the social media photos and posts still remain. Holloway said on his website that the list of names is being turned over to the local sheriff’s department to verify who was involved.
Holloway’s site also catalogues the extensive damage done to his home, including graffiti; smashed windows and glass doors; dozens of holes punched in walls; and rugs and carpets that were urinated on. Holloway, a former offensive lineman for the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Raiders, estimates the damage to be $20,000.
Authorities did not make any arrests related to the party but they are investigating the incident. They estimate about 200 to 400 people attended the party, word of which had quickly spread through social media.
Holloway, who is now a motivational speaker and has worked with substance abuse prevention program D.A.R.E., argued passionately on his website about the importance of turning the incident into a force for good.
“I want to [set] aside the very strong emotions I’m feeling and focus on the one thing that is extremely clear the lives of these 300 students,” Holloway wrote. “I want them to live. I’ve seen too many young people die because of excessing partying, drugs and alcohol.”
Holloway proposed a series of ideas for how to move forward, including having the teens use social media to create a “voice of accountability and reconciliation” as well as encouraging a group of parents, community members and students to work with a D.A.R.E. program and “send another urgent message about the dangers of drinking, drugs, crime and violence.”
Holloway said he wants to give the young people in question a chance at redemption. He hopes the individuals will step forward and accept responsibility for their behavior by showing up to help clean his home during a potluck picnic he is hosting this weekend for military serviceman.
“Please help!” Holloway wrote in in an announcement for the potluck. “Take a stand.”
Eun Kyung Kim contributed to this story.