Hervey has no concerns about playing with Smith

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:22 AM ET

Ed Hervey and Trevis Smith have crossed paths countless times on the football field.

It's a fact of life, with Hervey being a wide receiver with the Edmonton Eskimos since 1999 and Smith being a linebacker for the Saskatchewan Roughriders for seven years.

But that fact doesn't concern Hervey upon hearing Smith is HIV-positive.

"With me knowing that he has it and he has been on the field with me, I still feel very confident that you can't receive HIV from being tackled," said Hervey.

The Riders visited Commonwealth Stadium just two weeks ago, with Smith patrolling the middle of the Rider defence.

But football is likely the furthest thing from Smith's mind these days after being arrested Friday and charged with aggravated sexual assault involving a woman in B.C.

When the charge was announced, RCMP also informed the public Smith is HIV-positive. It is unknown when Smith contracted the disease.

HEARTBREAKING

"It's heartbreaking to hear that anyone contracted the disease," continued Hervey.

"I am not defending anything that he has done with the young lady in Surrey; it is just that here we are in 2005 and HIV is still being spread."

It's not the first time HIV has found its way to the sports pages across the country.

Magic Johnson put the disease in headlines around the world several years ago.

"If you look back at when Magic Johnson first announced that he had HIV and everyone was in a panic and uproar," said Hervey.

"I think Karl Malone made the comment that he didn't want to play on the same court as Johnson.

"Most people were ignorant (at that time) to how you can contract the disease.

"Over the last 12 to 15 years, we have been educated knowing that you can't contract the disease from shaking a hand, being tackled or through sweat.

"Obviously it would have to be something more, like sexual activity or blood and open wounds."

SMITH SUSPENDED

Smith has been suspended by the Riders and will likely face a court hearing next week in B.C.

"We are a together group here and I'm certain that those guys over there (in Regina) are going to rally behind Trevis," concluded Hervey.


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