By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico
CLOVIS — This weekend, it’s all about Fore and Four for the Baskett family.
The once-again Philadelphia Eagles receiver and 2001 Clovis High graduate is coming back for his annual benefit golf tournament.
Hank Baskett III, who re-signed with the Eagles after a one-year stint with the AFC champion Indianapolis Colts, doesn’t have any NFL teammates coming to Chaparral Country Club. Nor does he have his wife, former Playboy model and current reality TV star Kendra Wilkinson, as she is shooting footage for a workout video.
“Little Hank’s this year’s special guest,” Baskett said of his son, Hank IV. The 4-month-old mostly slept during the trip to Clovis, his father said.
Hank Baskett II and III will tee off on the first hole at 8 a.m., the official start of the tournament. The younger Baskett said nothing’s on the line, but he predicts a victory over the elder Baskett.
The Tee’d Off About Child Abuse Tournament had existed before Baskett III became an NFL player, but he took it over from his father, Hank Baskett Jr., when he got to the league and needed to select a charity.
“It’s always good to raise awareness about child abuse,” Baskett III said. “It’s everywhere, but the resources (to help) aren’t everywhere.”
The Oasis is a non-profit, private organization that conducts investigative interviews of abused children throughout a five-county area of eastern New Mexico, including Curry, Roosevelt, De Baca, Quay and Harding counties.
The golf tournament is its only fundraiser.
“Especially having a child of my own now, I don’t know how anyone could abuse a child,” Baskett III said.
Baskett, 27, speaks mostly about his son in the course of what he does, from his travel to his tournament to the job that gives him a famous name.
When he wasn’t offered a tender from the Colts, he had some concern about how he’d take care of his family.
The Colts’ move wasn’t totally unexpected, as Baskett saw primarily special teams time and gained national attention for a onside kick muff that helped swing momentum against the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. The New Orleans Saints rallied for a 31-17 win.
The Eagles swooped in to take him back a few days later, however.
“Other teams were interested, but they were interested from Day 1,” Baskett said. “It’s good to go somewhere you’re wanted. I knew the guys, I knew the offense and Kendra’s got some friends and family there.”
He wished the best for quarterback Donovan McNabb, recently traded to Washington, but he’s still optimistic the Eagles will “surprise people” in 2010.