A football coach in Utah decided to teach his team what was the appropriate behavior and what was not. He learned of his football players’ actions, many of which included cyber-bullying, and pulled the plug on their inappropriate behavior. Utah’s town of Roosevelt High school’s football coach made it crystal clear that bullying and other inappropriate behavior, including academic standing would not be accepted by the team’s standards (Klein 1). So, Roosevelt's Union High School football coach Matt Labrum recently suspended all 80 players from the team due to reports of bullying and academic issues.
The coaches sent letters to the players that they were told that if they participated in community service activities, took character-education classes and participated in extra study hall sessions, they would earn the right to play again in upcoming games (Klein 1).
“’The lack of character we are showing off the field is outshining what we are achieving on the field. We want student-athletes that are humble to learn and grow through adversity and success on and off the field,’ reads the letter, which was obtained by Deseret News” (Klein 1).
In this day and age of extremely competitive athletics, especially football, how amazing is it for a football coach to make a stand, call out his players for their inappropriate behavior and act upon that declaration?? I am a sports fanatic, and I truly cannot think of one…. The desire/pressure to win is always on a coach’s back, but this coach took a stand against bullying and other inappropriate behavior.
He required that his players commit time and effort to community service and working toward improving their academics.
“The decision received support from both the school administration and parents.‘As I thought about it, I've got 100 percent confidence in our (coaching) staff,’ said Union Principal Rick Nielsen to Deseret News. ‘They are just excellent men. Sometimes we do think we're bigger than the game’” (Klein 1).
All high-school athletic coaches should be so brave. To stand up against bullying and teach his or her athletes that bullies will not be tolerated on the team is a powerful message, not just to the bully, but to the rest of the teammates. This coach took an enormous risk, yet he proved that teaching high school students that bullying is never an option. Based on some of the recent news about high-school, and even college-aged students being bullying and subsequently committing suicide, this coach very well have might have saved a life. What a miracle!
In the end, it does not matter what the football team’s overall win/loss record is going to be. These kids learned a lesson, one that I wish more high school athletic coaches would implement. Bullying is never an answer or acceptable way to treat another person.
Klein, Rebecca. “Utah High School Football Coach Suspends Entire Team Amid Reports Of Cyberbullying.” The Huffington Post. September 26, 2013.