Comments about ‘Taking a stand: Union High coach suspends entire football team in lesson about character’

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Published: Tuesday, Sept. 24 2013 4:30 p.m. MDT

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New Orleans, LA

BRAVO!! The coaches, the parents, and the TEAM for seeking and accepting a challenge which is far more beneficial than points on a score board. This is a call to action, action which leads to character building, respect for your community, faith and action. I wish we had even a tiny smidge of that honorable behavior in my community. Bravo!!

Warren Zeigler

@Prplhayes: A couple of comments on your post. I mostly agree, but it is exceptionally easy to stifle good works with your reasoning. The team needs leaders, and the few voted in must stand for the things that are known to be right, in spite of other player's initial comments. (One of the two current captains commented on this.) Also, the coaches are not part of the team, they coach the team, just as parents are parents, not just other friends! Being LDS, I also heard several phrases that showed the coaches had great experiences helping youth in other situations as well. The coaches are encouraging the youth to be great examples and to uplift their peers. Too much "the coaches are just part of the team" weakens the youth. They would just learn to rely on the coaches to fix the problem. The coaches learned of the problems, "brought the life consequences forward" (I have done that with a few of my children), and gave them a realistic way to work themselves and each other out of the "pit" and in the process, give them positive life experiences, including good choices, for the future. That is great leadership!

mlps, MN

Every player especially those whos hands are clear should just turn in their jerseys and demand they fire this guy. Contact scouts, parents of the players who will miss out being scouted. Athletic supporters, the local radio if they broadcast your games, advertisers of that radio station, and all the students especially those in the band.
Those who want to better themselves by all means use the "practice times" to do your own community service.
Learn his little quote if you like or learn and recite this to a coach before friday,,

Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.
George Washington

Or one of my favorites

It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one.

Its your choice, accept someone who is far exceeding his authority and get in a line you will follow your whole life or take a stand for justice and your innocence and refuse to accept these heavy handed and totally backward abuses on the innocent in order to punish the guilty.

MD Transplant
Forest Hill, MD

Way to go Coaching staff! You're helping these boys on their journey by not turning a blind eye to their off the field trouble. Hopefully your request and expectation for accountability will grow these young men into self-accounting established men. Life lesson taught in a caring manner are the best kind, and you are doing it with respect, not fear, anger, or demoralization. So proud of you and hope you go with grace on the path you desire!

TM from TX
burleson, TX

I coached pee wee football for three years and we held the same standards and code of ethics. More people need to hold these kids accountable. 110% support coach! Good for you parents for allowing the coach to set your kids straight in a positive manner. These kids will remember this for the REST OF THEIR LIVES and it will shape their future. They all will be better people from this well executed life lesson....and it will spread to many more who aren't members of the football team - watch.

Highland, USA, CA

Now if we could just get coaches and educators in California to step up, maybe the parents also.
I like this coach!

Nan BW
ELder, CO

that guy 1999 - Who said anything about anyone being condemned? Rather than condemnation, opportunities were given for developing character, taking responsibility and being accountable as a team. This story is national news, and it is something that furnishes a great example beyond the readership of UT.

United States, NY

I applaud this coach for wanting the players to understand responsibility and attempting to correct a form of behavior that *is* unacceptable. This is very poetic, but I think this reflects back on the parents and not the students. What this story tells me is that there are a group students whose parents are not doing their jobs properly in teaching their children proper moral values, ethics and conduct amongst their peers.

Deeply disturbing that a coach must do the job of the parents. You want to change their hearts and minds? Good, but to do that, it starts in the home and not on national news or making them rake someone's lawn.

Dwight, NE

I compare this to the sexual assault cover up that the coaches tried to do in Stubbenville and it gives me hope. Thank you coaches for having moral character and ignoring the urge to make football the golden idol.

Vancouver, WA

@ Warren Zeigler:

I respect your opinion, but it is exceptionally easy to stifle reason with your comments, which you illustrate in your analogy regarding coaches and parents. In any team sport, coaches coach the team; however, they are indeed part of the team, not separate. What you are suggesting is akin to saying that parents are not part of the family. Mr. Labrum understands this as evidenced in his comments about the team where he says "we" not "they". A coach who is responsible for and accountable to his/her team does not weaken youth by any stretch of the imagination but rather sets the example for their players to follow thereby helping to encourage their players to be great examples and uplift their peers. I think many folks responding here may be focusing too much on the alleged incident of bullying and might be overlooking the fact that based on Labrum's comments, there were other forms of misconduct at play prior to the online incident that he knew of. I question whether this is effective leadership as it seems it may have been the result of a knee-jerk response to an allegation loaded with political implications.

Hampden, ME

This story has blown up on Facebook! Personally, as a mother of 4 boys I can only hope that the coaches in their lives will hold them to the highest of standards, just like in this story. This had to be a very difficult decision, and I'm happy to read that this wonderful group of coaches is receiving so much positive support! Thank you!

Branson, MO

This would really separate the men from the boys.

South Jordan, UT

This story makes me want to stand up and cheer. My son plays high school football and if bullying was going on with his team I would expect nothing less!! Great job Coach!!!

Warren Zeigler

@thatguy1999: I imagine you noticed that your statement is the rare dissenting voice. One other thing: Please consider how much MORE universities will want these players now! At least in this region of the country, players are often students first, football players second. The degree that this is true depends on the institution.

Saratoga Springs, UT


"It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one."

I think it is pretty apparent that you do not understand this quote you supplied. Nobody is condemning the innocent man. The innocent are helping lift up the guilty as you say. I would rather prefer to say the weak. The quote you laid out is posted, so I am guessing that you rather be the one who does not want to be the one who has to do anything for the guilty, yet the quote encourages that it is better to risk saving a guilty man. Sorry, I missed your point with your comment, it does not fit. And Warren Zeigler hit the nail on the head.

Pittsburgh, PA

Good for the Coach! Any of the kids who disagree with his actions should be reminded in a team only meeting that they are part of the team. And then shown the movie "The Dirty Dozen" where Franko refuses to shave because "we don't have to shave".

Murray, UT

And then the coach fumbles!
clearly the coach caved into pressure.
how many games did he actually forfeit?
Kind of like getting a safety
sure you get two points, but not the same as a touchdown!

Santa Monica, CA

The most telling thing of all is how enamored most of the posters on this thread seem to be of a coach who basically took their jerseys for 4 or 5 days and then had them right back on the field for Homecoming. Oh, lets make a Disney movie about it! Well, it would have to be a very short Disney movie. A longer and more impressive one might involve a coach and a coaching staff that never let things get to the point where this overhyped stunt was needed. And please don't try to tell me that great lessons about character were taught between Friday night and Wednesday morning. If I take my kids cell phone on Friday night and make her rake some leaves to get it back by next weekend, I may have made her think, but I don't kid myself into thinking I'm a great molder of character. And this may be the big problem in high schools today. Something like this is seen as having really done the job in terms of character building.

St. Simons Island, GA

I think this coach is setting a great example for other coaches and players across America. More coaches need to take action like this to help stop bullying. Children as young as 12 years of age are committing suicide because of how cruel others can be, especially on social media. My son almost committed suicide because of cyber bullying and physical bullying, so this hits close to my heart. Our high school principal met with the bullies and warned them about the new laws our state has in place about harassment and bullying. My son had to see a professional counselor for over a year and a half. We were able to save him just in time. It is time for coaches, teachers, and parents to take action now. It is much more rewarding to help those in need through community service instead of putting others down to make themselves look good. So, Coach, I think you are a saint! It takes a village to raise a child. Thank you for doing what was right. Maybe next time, suspend just the guilty ones. However, it showed ALL of the players to give back to the community. Great job!

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