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Sep 26 2013

Zero football team

Usually it’s the other way around. Usually the high school football team gets to do whatever it wants to, and everyone else has to put up with it. A coach at a high school in Utah decided not to have that.

Faced with reports that members of his team were cyber-bullying a fellow student, a Roosevelt, Utah high school football coach suspended the entire squad, not letting them reform until they agreed to an extensive set of conditions.

Good move.

The Deseret News reported on Tuesday that Labrum also met with the student who was targeted by the online harassment to apologize. Because the bullying took place on the chat website ask.fm, which allows for anonymous usernames, the offending team members had not been identified at the time.

“We don’t want that represented in our program,” Labrum told the News. “Whoever it is (doing the bullying), we want to help get them back on the right path.”

Let’s hope that becomes a trend.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Jackie

    I think this coach did his job beautifully and that he should be commended. I hope it catches on too. Can you imagine integrity and personal responsibility with real consequences catching on in sports culture? It could change so much for the better.

  2. 2
    catof many faces

    Wow! that’s a wonderful approach! I… Can i be feeling… Respect?… for a football coach?

    I… I have to sit down…

    :P

  3. 3
    SallyStrange

    *applause*

    It IS possible to end, or at least reduce bullying. It is NOT an intractable problem.

  4. 4
    Alverant

    Finally, a coach I can respect (well as much as I can respect a coach).

  5. 5
    quixote

    Don’t tell me there are people who say you can’t stop bullying. (Probably the same ones who think rape is “natural.”) There was no bullying at my school. It was a private school full of us little darlings who were the apples of the eyes of some very articulate and forceful parents, and the class sizes were small. Anybody who tried not to play nice was in the principal’s office before they knew what hit them. So: no bullying.

    I spent a semester in an English school where different rules applied. The bullying was constant, with brief interruptions for classes. That’s when I understood that the only difference isn’t the people. It’s what the authorities tolerate. The bystanders, who are the de facto enforcers, take their tone from them.

    Of course, that was well before the internet. It was more difficult to bully undercover.

  6. 6
    rnilsson

    At last, a coach who kept an eye on the ball! This must be someone who is aiming for the right goal. Responsible is a good thing to be, and also to teach. Also by example.

  7. 7
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I suspect that people are only half serious in their comments about coaches, but it bothers me that people seem so ready to bash coaches and sports more generally. A good coach can make the same difference in a kid’s life as a good teacher can. For many kids with bad home lives, their coach is the only adult who cares about and supports them. In addition to teaching people sports (which often involve much more than physical abilities), good coaches teach fairness, cooperation, persevering, supporting others through difficult times, maintaining composure under pressure, managing conflicts, responsibility to other people, dealing well with success and defeat, and on and on. They act as informal counselors to the players. This work is often done as a volunteer or with minimal compensation. Many coaches are decent like this guy as a matter of course, but we usually only hear about the bad cases, and almost never about women coaching.

    Thus ends my homage to the unsung coaches of the world.

  8. 8
    drken

    It’s great to see people do the right thing. I grew up where High School Football wasn’t a big deal at all except to the players and their friends/family, but I would have been shocked if the coach did something like this. If you were bullied by a football player, the idea of them standing up for you against their player would be laughable.

  9. 9
    Donnie

    #7 SC (Salty Current), OM.

    True, but I think the point was to give recognition where recognition was due. My first Track coach in High School almost turned me off of track. I ruined my heal running middle distance with sprinter cleats because he recommended it to me. He had no idea what he was doing. Next year, we had another track coach that took the same squad of kids and helped send 10 to States by winning our Regional for the first time in 32 years. When he found out that I was failing a class, one look of disappointment on his face was enough.

    I took charge of my education. I started studying and in two (2) years moved me GPA from a low C to a high B. My senior year, I took AP courses including AP English where I learned 11 years of English (including how to write an essay and defend your analysis) in one year.

    I went to a University, ran track for a couple of years, and graduate with honours – all because of one coach with a disappointed look on his face. Yes, coaches can be powerful. They can also be assholes and jerks and allow the worst out of kids because winning is more important. In the end, coaches are human. Let’s recognize and reward the goods coaches with praise and shame and oust the bad ones.

    As you said, we all to often hear about the bad ones and not the unsung ones. One look….One look changed the course of my life. Maybe a little hyperbole (hyperbollic?), but after 25+ years, I still remember that one look.

  10. 10
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    #7 SC (Salty Current), OM.

    True, but I think the point was to give recognition where recognition was due.

    I know that was the point of Ophelia’s post. My comment was responding to the comments (#s 2 and 4), which is why it began with “I suspect that people are only half serious in their comments about coaches,….”

    Of course there are also plenty of bad coaches (and teachers, and dentists, and social workers,…), but I wanted to talk about the good ones and some of the important things ordinary coaches ordinarily do. I’m very glad you had a good one!

  11. 11
    Donnie

    @SC (Salty Current), )M

    I also forgot to add, Coaches are humans, like teachers, dentists, and social workers, and there are good ones and bad ones. We need more good ones getting praise and less bad ones getting shamed…

  12. 12
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    @SC:

    Yeah, it’s no fair that 1% of coaches have to bear the blame for the actions of the other 99%. Why, from the tone of the comments here, you’d almost think that a coach taking bullying seriously enough to suspend players who do it was so rare it’s actually newsworthy.

    Oh, wait, that’s exactly the case. Most coaches are terrible people, and the excuse that they are sometimes good at their job when measured by athletic performance — which is the usual defense — is a non sequitur in context.

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