ROOSEVELT — Union High School football coach Matt Labrum and his staff suspended all 80 players from the team last week because of off-field problems ranging from cyberbullying to skipping classes.
The coaches informed the players on Friday that there would be a 7 a.m. meeting the next day where they would have an opportunity to re-earn a spot on the team.
During the meeting on Saturday, Labrum gave the suspended players a letter titled "Union Football Character," explaining exactly what the boys would need to do if they wanted to earn their jerseys back.
Below is what the letter said.
Union Football Character
Gentlemen, we are not pleased with how our football brothers are representing our family, school, community, alumni, family and yourselves. It is a privilege to play this wonderful game! We must earn the opportunity, to have the honor to put on our high schools jersey each Thursday and Friday night! 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. We want a team that others want to associate themselves with and support; winning isn't the most important criteria for that to happen.
Humbleness, thankfulness, humility, respect, courage and honor are much more important than winning ballgames! We can achieve both if we start to act with others' feelings in mind and focus on how we can make someone else's day instead of just wrapped up in ourselves. WHEN WE ARE WORKING ON THIS AND ACHIEVING THIS WE WILL BE MOLDING OUR CHARACTER IN A POSITIVE WAY! Right now we are way off as a collective group. We want change and are going to make changes now.
As of tonight we are no longer playing football until we meet certain criteria!
TURN YOUR JERSEYS IN NOW!
Saturday: 7:00 a.m. electing captains "Attitude Reflects Leadership" — Remember the Titans.
Monday: 3:30 we will be doing a service project during practice time, come prepared to work, then we are all required to attend the Cougar Legend Banquet. Find ways to serve during this event.
Tuesday: We will be performing more service in lieu of practice.
Wednesday: Study Hall begins at 3:30 and we better have specific items to work on. We will be in there for the duration of practice. You must have enough work for 2 hours.
Criteria to EARN jersey back for Friday's Game
1) Attend all practices that we have planned and any others that may come up.
2) Be on time and totally prepared
3) No F's or discipline problems
4) Do an individual service project for your family, give me a typed report of it and pictures and have your parents sign it. (Due Wed. before study hall)
5) Memorize and pass this quote off to one of the coaches at some point during study hall
"Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift. Good character, by contrast is not given to us. We have to build it, piece by piece — by thought, by choice, courage, and determination."
If you meet ALL criteria by Wednesday night, you will have earned the privilege to play in the games on Thursday and Friday. If you fail then you will miss this week's game.