Support Tristen Endaya: High School Athlete is a Victim, Not a Criminal!
Tristen Endaya deserves justice and the public has a right to know the truth about the crimes that Tristen has been charged with. The media has portrayed him as a monster and the public needs to take a stand and help make sure justice is done.
- North Carolina Governor
Since the media still has not reported to truth in regards to the incident with Hendersonville High School Football Player Tristen Endaya, I feel compelled to speak on his behalf. I have had the privilege of knowing Tristen his entire life and I am honored to speak to you about him. It isn’t every day in life that you meet someone and know that they are destined to do great things. Tristen is one of those special individuals. His talent and leadership on the football field are undisputable, but it’s his character off the field that truly impresses me the most. Instead of going on his family beach trip this summer, Tristen decided he would rather attend Biltmore Baptist Christian camp for the week. But what’s even more impressive is that he helped get scholarships so that many other friends and Roberson football players that could normally not afford it could also attend. Tristen knows the power of having a personal relationship with Christ and how that can play in our lives and he made a commitment to share that with his friends – friends who otherwise probably wouldn’t have had that opportunity. I don’t know many other 17 year old young men that would take such a stand among their friends. I know I certainly didn’t have that kind of maturity, leadership and character at that age. Tristen Endaya is a junior at Hendersonville High School and a member of Biltmore Baptist church. He has never been in trouble with the law a day in his life, in fact he was raised by an officer of the law. He has always been respectful to adults and authority.
I have to admit I am upset and surprised at how Tristen has been portrayed in the media and was even more appalled when he was suspended from the football team. I immediately asked myself what happened to being innocent until proven guilty. Is that not the basis for our entire justice system…a justice system that I am sure is taught in every school's classroom? Shouldn’t those same considerations apply in high school too? Everyone who knows Tristen knows that he is innocent of these charges, and I know that will come out to the public soon. If anything he is a victim in this crime. What people don't realize is that Tristen NEVER knew the two boys who got in his car. He was leaving a summer football training session with two other football players when they asked him to pull over where the other boys were. He did not know their names or that they had guns. He had no knowledge of who they were and what was getting ready to take place. He simply thought he was giving them a ride. One of the boys in the car asked him to turn down a certain street. As Tristen did the back window was rolled down and one of the guys started shooting. Tristen was scared to death and never slowed down but speed up. He then told the boys they had to get out of his car. Three months later the Assistant District Attorney did not review the case in great detail but decides to send it to the grand jury for indictments, without any evidence and with a story that makes no sense. The old saying is true, "you can indict a ham sandwich". He is only being charged because he was the driver of the car, not for any other reason. What the public does not realize is that the driver of the car can be charged with the exact same thing as the person committing the crime. The lesson every parent needs to teach their children is to never let anyone for any reason in their car if they do not know them. Because of his kind heart his whole life is being ruined over night. He is sitting back and watching what he has worked all his life for being destroyed. Can you begin to imagine what he is feeling knowing not just his athletics have been taken away but his dignity and reputation because the media reported a story before they had all the facts? It’s not just about football, but football is the vehicle to open doors to Tristen’s future…the vehicle to get him into college and onto bigger and better things in his life. What good does it do to take that opportunity away from a student, especially at such a critical time during his path to college? More importantly, what kind of precedent are we setting when we punish people before they are prosecuted? We all would agree that being a teenager is a challenge, some of the toughest times in our lives. It’s important to keep teenagers focused on positive things that can help them become productive adults. That is what football is to Tristen. We have no doubt that Tristen will be found innocent in court but he needs to be on the football field now. I have the greatest respect for Hendersonville High. They have taken him with open arms and loved him through this entire ordeal. That speaks wonders about their character. I don't know many schools that would embrace Tristen like Hendersonville has. If we can get enough public support I am sure the school won't have a problem putting him back on the football field and getting the bogus charges dropped by the District Attorney. He will never get this time back and the damage that has been done can never be undone.
It’s not every day we get the opportunity to truly change someone’s life for the better, but we all have that chance right now with Tristen. Please sign and forward the petition and continue to write Jeff Hunt the District Attorney of Hendersonville, NC on Tristen's behalf. Thank you for your support in helping to make sure that justice in our community is served.
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