Former NFL safety Duron Harmon has been dedicated to philanthropy since he retired from the league. He is currently committed to raising awareness for autism, and looks forward to continuing his advocacy work in retirement.
Safety for the Raiders in Las Vegas April will always have a special place in Duron Harmon is a character in the film Duron Harmon’s heart, and not only because it marks the beginning of spring, which is when the New England Patriots picked him in the 2013 NFL Draft.
April is Autism Awareness Month, and Harmon, 31, is a staunch supporter of programs that help youngsters with autism. In recent years, the veteran safety has focused on boosting autism awareness and helping his nephew, Nic, who was diagnosed with autism as a youngster.
In a recent interview with Sportscasting, the three-time Super Bowl winner explained his platform, objective, and advise for individuals who still use the term “autistic” as a derogatory term to describe others.
Duron Harmon is a character in the film Duron Harmon is dedicated to spreading autism awareness.
Duron Harmon is a character in the film Duron Harmon, a long-time NFL safety, is still promoting autism awareness in 2019 | Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
When speaking with Harmon, it doesn’t take long to realize how passionate he is about his work as an autistic advocate. Since his nephew’s diagnosis, the Rutgers product has made it his duty to learn all he can and to guarantee that others do the same.
“It all began with me asking questions and advocating for my nephew.” In a recent interview, Harmon reflected on how “it grew into more on a national scale of advocating, holding events, and being a part of it.” “So it’s been a satisfying process, but it’s one that we need to keep working on and raising awareness about.” Even more so, I’m looking forward to the advances we can achieve in the next three to five years.”
Harmon hosted a karaoke event to support autism awareness while with the Patriots. In the spring of 2019, he also paid a visit to the Boston Higashi School, a special education school.
Harmon is now collaborating with the National Autism Association to “balance the playing field,” as he puts it. The veteran safety is keen to help the disadvantaged and communities of color, where children are diagnosed at a much younger age than those in suburban regions, according to him.
“Everyone’s scenario is unique; no two situations are same.” And it is what makes autism so unique. Every case is unique, and every child is unique, which is why it’s up to people like me to raise awareness so that we can not only show people but also get more resources so that doctors, nurses, and teachers, as well as principals and administrators, can have more protocols and procedures in place to deal with every child on the spectrum.”
Duron Harmon is a character in the film Duron Harmon
Even in 2022, individuals are still ready to criticize others by using inappropriate labels like “autistic” or “retarded.” Kyle Busch, a NASCAR racer, was sentenced to sensitivity training last year after using the latter term during a diatribe against rival driver Brad Keselowski. A short look at Twitter reveals individuals using such phrases in casual conversation.
Harmon feels that self-evaluation is the key to putting such phrases behind him.
“We have to recognize that we’re dealing with individuals who have emotions,” Harmon said. “We would never, ever want someone to treat you badly.” … So, if you encounter someone with autism or another form of disability, imagine them as a family member or a brother or sister, and imagine how you would feel if someone was talking to them, using their name, or comparing them to something they aren’t. How outraged would you be if this happened to you? How badly would you be hurt?
“So I simply tell them, ‘Treat people the way you want to be treated, and speak to them the way you want the world to be handled.’”
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Note: For clarity, some of Harmon’s remarks have been gently modified.
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