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

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  • AJ11 St. Simons Island, GA
    Sept. 29, 2013 3:54 p.m.

    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!

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Sept. 29, 2013 2:42 p.m.

    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.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Sept. 28, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    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!

  • Chippy55 Pittsburgh, PA
    Sept. 27, 2013 6:15 p.m.

    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".

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 10:36 a.m.


    "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.

  • Warren Zeigler NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    @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.

  • photographermom South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 27, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    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!!!

  • DavidJ Branson, MO
    Sept. 27, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    This would really separate the men from the boys.

  • Mummascott Hampden, ME
    Sept. 27, 2013 8:34 a.m.

    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!

  • Prplhayes Vancouver, WA
    Sept. 26, 2013 2:36 p.m.

    @ 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.

  • LDSXena Dwight, NE
    Sept. 26, 2013 1:15 p.m.

    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.

  • Cycloneous United States, NY
    Sept. 26, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    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.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Sept. 26, 2013 10:18 a.m.

    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.

  • OldHighlandGuy Highland, USA, CA
    Sept. 26, 2013 9:03 a.m.

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

  • TM from TX burleson, TX
    Sept. 26, 2013 6:57 a.m.

    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.

  • MD Transplant Forest Hill, MD
    Sept. 26, 2013 6:43 a.m.

    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!

  • thatguy1999 mlps, MN
    Sept. 26, 2013 3:10 a.m.

    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.

  • Warren Zeigler NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 11:35 p.m.

    @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!

  • angelag83 New Orleans, LA
    Sept. 25, 2013 9:17 p.m.

    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!!

  • happytobehere Fillmore, Utah
    Sept. 25, 2013 9:07 p.m.

    @The Rock

    I would like to know more about the football player that said "I am the peer pressure." What a great story. I tried to google it but couldn't find anything. Can you give me any more information?


  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Sept. 25, 2013 8:53 p.m.

    Part of character is honoring contracts. If a player breaks rules than he should be suspended. However there was a contract made to play scheduled games. Suspend individual players but keep contracts you made with other teams.

  • SCMom Spring Creek, NV
    Sept. 25, 2013 8:10 p.m.

    Hurrah for integrity shown by this great coach. Finally someone who realizes there is more to life than athletics and winning a game. There is winning at life and becoming a viable member of society. High school is only four short years. Then life really begins. Hang in there, coach. We need someone like you at the head of every team.

  • JonathanPDX Portland, Oregon
    Sept. 25, 2013 6:47 p.m.

    There's no reason that building character should not be part of a well-rounded school curriculum. Teaching children to be honest, honorable, responsible and reliable should be just as important as teaching them to read, write or do math. It has nothing to do with religion, either, but with simply learning to be a person worthy of the respect of others, something too lacking in so much of our society.

  • SteveinAZ Tucson, AZ
    Sept. 25, 2013 6:34 p.m.

    UtahBruin wrote:

    "I guarantee that this coach earned the respect and trust of all his players, administration and community. I am sure these players returned with a new found respect not just for him but their teammates as well. And more importantly themselves."

    If they respect a coach who has basically called them LIARS without basis other than some anonymous complaint, then, the players would be fools. The coach took the word of someone who cannot even say who supposedly harassed him. Group punishment is bad enough, but group punishment without even knowing if you have the right group is plain asinine. If these kids have zero self respect and agree to "earn" their way to play for this coach, they will grow up to let anyone step all over them, based upon nothing but gossip.

    Here's one final thought for all the bobble-heads posting comments in agreement with this coach:

    How do you know the complainer is not somebody who just couldn't make the team and who is just jealous of those who did?

    Sept. 25, 2013 5:26 p.m.

    Coach Labrum,

    You're a stud. What a great, gutsy thing to do. It would be nice if we cold all be so proactive in doing good things like this.

    Keep it up!

  • WYOREADER Gillette, WY
    Sept. 25, 2013 5:20 p.m.

    I have never had so much respect for a coaching staff. You will have an amazing team when they return.

  • DaveRL OGDEN, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 5:03 p.m.

    Outstanding job coach, I would let my son play for you any day. We need more coaches like him.

  • jean22 Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 4:58 p.m.

    I love how the parents are supporting the coach in this, rather than blaming him like the parents of the 300 kids who partied and vandalized the ex-NFL player's home.

  • midvale guy MIDVALE, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    While I completely agree with the coach's intention there are probably a few people on this team that did not deserve this. Hopefully the procedure for getting readmitted to the team is considered on an individual basis. I think there's a certain mentality that goes along with team sports in high school. There tends to be a certain superiority complex in action. it will be good for everyone involved to drum out the bad character and the bad characters. now if only college and professional sports could have integrity as a factor for continued involvement.

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 3:58 p.m.


    You can't name the accuser as they would be high school kids which makes them a minor. I am confident that this all got worked out in the end. Maybe the school and the alleged harassed victim did not know who it was. I guarantee that several of the teammates of the said harasser know who he is.

    So you say, "never trust anyone (especially a coach) who doesn't trust you." Trust is earned and so is respect. I guarantee that this coach earned the respect and trust of all his players, administration and community. I am sure these players returned with a new found respect not just for him but their teammates as well. And more importantly themselves.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Sept. 25, 2013 3:07 p.m.

    As someone who has been in the school scene for many years, I join those who applaud the decision and action of the coach. I too think it would make a real movie.

  • SteveinAZ Tucson, AZ
    Sept. 25, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    From the story: "One incident in particular moved the coaches to action. A few days before, guidance counselors informed the coaches about a student who believed he was being harassed and bullied by football players on an anonymous online chat program called ask.fm — something Labrum and his staff had never heard of before last week. Because the social media website allows users to hurl insults from behind a screen name, there was no way for coaches or counselors to know who was harassing the young man, who is not a member of the football team."
    The moral of the story: you can hurt an entire team of atheletes (guilty, or innocent) with a simple accusation that you "believe" that you are being "harrassed" on the Internet by someone whom you "believe" is a member of said team. The PC coaches will spring into action and take drastic action, based upon............well, you know....not much to go on, but whatever. Action will be taken!

    It's funny how they didn't name the accuser, yet they deride "anonymous" comments on a silly chat room.

    The ultimate moral of the story: Never trust anyone who doesn't trust you!

  • SteveinAZ Tucson, AZ
    Sept. 25, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    From the story:

    "One incident in particular moved the coaches to action. A few days before, guidance counselors informed the coaches about a student who believed he was being harassed and bullied by football players on an anonymous online chat program called ask.fm — something Labrum and his staff had never heard of before last week. Because the social media website allows users to hurl insults from behind a screen name, there was no way for coaches or counselors to know who was harassing the young man, who is not a member of the football team."

    The moral of the story: you can hurt an entire team of atheletes (guilty, or innocent) with a simple accusation that you "believe" that you are being "harrassed" by someone whom you "believe" is a member of said team. The PC coaches will spring into action and take drastic action, based upon............well, you know....not much to go on, but whatever. Action will be taken!

    It's funny how they didn't name the accuser, yet they deride "anonymous" comments on a silly chat room.

    The ultimate moral of the story: Never trust anyone (especially a coach) who doesn't trust you.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Sept. 25, 2013 1:43 p.m.

    I hope someone makes a movie about this! Class act coaches!

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 1:33 p.m.

    An excellent article and as others have said, Kudos to the coaching staff and all who supported them in what they did.

    I do have a question that was brought up by this article and is purely an aside; If this individual is claiming cyber-bullying, and the website allows phony names, is this person using a phony name also? if so, how could it be bullying if he isn't even known? This is not to put down the problem that this is becoming, it is simply a request for information for my self.

  • Mike W Syracuse, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    Good for them! There are more important things than football (and I'm a huge football fan). I cannot believe the hours wasted on football at very young ages (8-9), practicing or playing six days a week, when they could be focusing on more important things (homework). It's just another example of the countries mixed up priorities (given that almost none of these kids will earn a college scholarship and many will finish high school with chronic injuries). And you can spare me the "it builds character" thing that goes along with playing sports, serving missions, military, etc... you can build your character in a number of ways, but the best and easiest is by simply being a good, law-abiding citizen and helping others - a lot of kids have this figured out at young ages, no excuse why others can't. Those kids back in Mass. who vandalized Brian Holloway's home could use parents or a school like this to crack down on their ridiculous behavior.

  • joseywales Park City, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    This story has all the makings of a Disney movie, if they can just win a title, or even have a winning season. Regardless of that though, I think it's awesome what the coaches are doing and no matter what the win/loss record is at the end of the season, there will be many more winners come off of this team because of this. Bravo!

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 11:40 a.m.

    So, higv, MONEY is more important CHARACTER?

    I guess that's the ultra conservative view of life. . . .

  • mab93 Provo, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 11:37 a.m.

    Great Job Coach. That would be a tough decision for a new coach to make. I expect that they will have a more successful football program because of it. Most of the better football programs have learned that it is easier to build a top program by building character first. Wong would regularly have the team do community service, and has benched a starter during the playoffs because of poor life choices. They players all knew that if they needed to live up to higher expectations than others, and they didn't want their actions to reflect poorly on their football family. With most of these kids, when you expect more of them they rise up to meet the expectations.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 11:35 a.m.

    This is absolutely AWESOME!

    Congratulations to the coaches who had the courage to act. And especially to the parents who had the wisdom to realize that their kids are being handed a tremendous lesson in life.

    Too many parents might have gone ballistic and sought to fire the coaches.

    This sounds like a winning game for all.

  • Goldendomer Holladay, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 10:37 a.m.

    I did not know much about Union before this but what I do know now is the administrators, coaches and parents all value integrity more than they value playing a game. I hope these boys learn quickly and they never forget the lesson being taught here.

    Nice job Coaches! Well done!

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 9:55 a.m.


    Nothing was copped out on, it was learned of and dealt with. You question his ability to coach. This guy went above and beyond his call of duty. Those involved a little deeper are getting their punishment, but who better to hold other kids accountable than their teammates. This is going to create a unity not only on his team but in the community and school as well. I applaud this coach for taking this measure to not only teach these kids football, but to teach them about life and the responsibility of growing into adulthood.

    First Class Coach! I stand and applaud. Thank you for putting values and the mentoring of these kids in a place higher than a single individual and a football game. I hope many of these kids return for their jersey with a value and understanding of others and the importance of being a proper human being first and athlete second. I commend you and wish you and your boys the best of luck against Emery Friday night. I feel sorry for Emery having to play against the new respect and emotion these players have gained this week.

  • broost Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 9:55 a.m.

    This is an inspiring story of coaches doing the right thing and parents supporting them in their efforts. I hope the players do learn something from this and realize that they have the ability to be an influence for GOOD in the world and not tear others down. It may have only been a few kids on that team who were not acting appropriately, but making it a "team" issue will bring these boys closer together. I'll be rooting for them to come back strong in football!

  • USC Fan in Utah Spanish Fork, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 9:43 a.m.

    I think a key element here is that the coaches were in touch with what was going on. Coaches need to be aware of the stewardship they have over these young men. They can be a strong influence for good if they take time to get to know their boys. If there are boys on the team that have been acting "different" an engaged coach will recognize it and take the time to find out what is going on. There may be bullying other things that are effecting the player. Coaches are coaches for more than the 3 hours a day they are with the team.

    Hats off to the Union coaches and administration.

  • SLCguy Murray, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 9:38 a.m.

    OK.... I have a question....

    WHY did it come to this? Why weren't there consistent rules and behavioral standards already set?

    To me, this is the biggest cop out in history. Masking a situation where the coaches let things get out of hand INSTEAD of punishing individual players for their mis-deeds AS THEY HAPPENED.

    My sons' coach was man enough to suspend starting Quarterbacks, the entire Defensive line, and many others WITHIN HOURS or DAYS of bad behavior. Why these guys ignored all the known behavior for so long really raises a question of their ability to coach in my mind.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 9:29 a.m.

    It's good to see a coach who understands that football is a recreational activity and a game; not the central focus of a well-balanced life or the school's reason for existing. While some might question why those who were not misbehaving were also cut, I believe it is the same concept as that in the West Point honor code for cadets, which teaches: "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." The latter point is the central one here. Football teams develop a culture of their own and those who are not misbehaving usually are still aware of what is going on but remain silent about it. When you're on a team, you're not just an individual responsible only for yourself, but bear a responsibility for what goes on around you.

  • poundwagon South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    It's refreshing to know we have high school teachers and coaches who still get the purpose of high school athletics. Great job Union!!!

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    As a high school coach just have to say...great to see this!

  • iluvnz Vernal, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 8:07 a.m.

    Coach Labrum,
    I'm a Uintah Ute graduate...and as far as I'm concerned, you have already won the state championship. Kudos to you and your staff.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Sept. 25, 2013 8:00 a.m.

    This brings to mind the story of a young lady in Arizona with Downs Syndrome. She was getting bullied at school and her mother went to the Quarter Back on the football team and asked him to find out who was bullying her. He knew he could do more. He and his fellow team members escorted her to classes and to and from school. They became a force for good.

    This should be a requirement just to be on a sports team in school. Become a force for good.

    I recall a Christian football hero from Oklahoma being interviewed. He was asked how he maintained his Christian standards in the face of peer pressure.

    His reply: "I am the peer pressure."

    So let it be written, so let it be done.

  • Its Common Knowledge Houston, TX
    Sept. 25, 2013 7:32 a.m.

    Excellent work coach!

  • Pig Skin Fan Syracuse, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 7:24 a.m.

    Utah needs more coaches like Matt. Great Job!!!

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Sept. 25, 2013 7:21 a.m.

    Is breaking a contract character? Players do need suspended. However the game officials, opponents, UHSAA and community signed a contract to play in scheduled games and that there is a breach. Hurts coaches and officials financially as well.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 25, 2013 4:16 a.m.

    I have to commend this coach for this action and I hope he is allowed to maintain this punishment until the end. But its unlikely the principle will understand the need for minors and sub adults to learn the meaning of discipline and self respect as well as for others.

    A boot camp mind bending attitude is what young people need in education and social behaviors and its good to see someone that recognized the need for this discipline and how to make it work. He should make them miss a few games to go along with this action so they know he is serious about their social respect for each other and all member's of their community.

    Sports teams are usually recognized as the spirit of a school but they are also the spirit of social behaviors and respect for each other. I hope the parents are cooperative with the coaches actions and not get angry at coach and make themselves look like fools.

  • Beverly J Giles ,
    Sept. 25, 2013 1:57 a.m.

    I commend these coaches, I know this was probably a hard decision to make. But I also think it's wonderful that they decided to be proactive instead of doing nothing. I wish more teachers and parents would do something along these lines.

  • Prplhayes Vancouver, WA
    Sept. 25, 2013 12:53 a.m.

    @ Eagle -

    I would say that is a pretty good attempt to rationalize the coach's thought process short of being able to actually talk to him about it. My main concern, and keep in mind I have only this article in which to base my opinion, is the coach holding himself and his staff to the standard that he has established? Is he and his staff leading by example?
    Maybe he is, but it is not mentioned in the article. I support his decision to suspend the team over misconduct although deciding the punish the entire team for the conduct of a few, some or whatever number can become dicey (it appears, fortunately, that did not happen here) as you ensnare players who likely have done nothing wrong. But I must ask, does the coach and his staff have to earn the privilege to coach again? Did they perform any service? It seems that the coach had prior knowledge of at least some of the misconduct that was going in the team and the coaches are part of the team.

  • bw00ds Tucson, AZ
    Sept. 25, 2013 12:12 a.m.

    As an educator, I love this!

    Congrats to the coaches who are obviously men of integrity.

    Congrats to the administrators who supported this. So many times administrators cannot see the forest through the trees and make numbskull decisions. This decision was right!

    Congrats to the parents who saw the light and supported the coaches and their sons.

    Congrats to the boys--you respected your coaches' decision and sounds like you are making this an opportunity to grow and become better. You will never regret this.

    Sept. 24, 2013 10:37 p.m.

    This is a life lesson for all, that poor behavior is not tolerated. Needs to happen to youth, and adults!!!

  • eagle Provo, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 10:36 p.m.

    I think he was saying in some sense that we are our brother's keeper. Nobody was "innocent." Every member of the team was probably aware of someone not living up to the high standards the coach was shooting for in his program. He was saying by not doing more to uplift, in a sense you are somewhat guilty in letting the program and team down. I think the larger lesson, even for the lesser offending players (I will call them) is the old proverb that "evil triumphs when good men do nothing to stop it." Sometimes it does take courage to take action.

    I'm sure the coach could ignore the problems and keep practicing as usual. He should be applauded for putting things in proper perspective. Quite frankly, I don't know of any Union football players that have played in the NFL and few have played in college. But most will be husbands and fathers and all are citizens and all are currently students. First things first, and the coach has established what is truly important and it isn't playing football on Friday night.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 10:26 p.m.

    Good Job!

    All Football players need to recognize the power they have for good and bad.

    If that power is abused (which I think it frequently is) then great coaches take swift action.

    I will stand with these coaches all day long! Hopefully the players AND PARENTS respond appropriately and help be part of the solution.

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    Sept. 24, 2013 9:29 p.m.


  • Utah Girl Vernal, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 9:12 p.m.

    Very important to learn these life lessons now, as a young man, and be able to carry the lessons into your future life. What if the young man who was bullied took his life? That would affect those who bullied, probably for the rest of their lives. Not to mention the devastation to his family. I applaud the coaches for having the courage to do this. I hope all the team, and the whole school, will benefit from this.

  • Prplhayes Vancouver, WA
    Sept. 24, 2013 8:51 p.m.

    I applaud the coach for taking a stand against misconduct, no matter how minor the conduct is believed to be. Unless all 80 players engaged in misconduct, I would have to question the decision to suspend the entire team and inform players they would have to earn their privilege to play football again. More specifically, what lessons in character he wished to impart on players who may not have engaged in misconduct? Team concept? Fair enough...but the head coach and the rest of the staff are part of the team as well.

  • Danite Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 8:50 p.m.

    What a wonderful story! I am proud of the coach, the administators, and the parents for teaching lessons and not focusing on less important things like football games (and I LOVE football games). I'm a huge Union fan now!

  • SnowCanyonDad SANTA CLARA, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 8:32 p.m.

    Every decision and action has consequences.

  • FREDISDEAD West Point, ny
    Sept. 24, 2013 7:00 p.m.


    I WISH my sons coaches cared like this. All they care about is Winning. Maybe that is why they have a LOSING record.

  • Vernal Mom Vernal, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 6:14 p.m.

    Union has been our cross town rival for many, many years. I really hope this works.....it sure takes courage and guts to suspend the whole team. Please keep us posted on how things turn out, and how the players respond. I've had three sons play high school football and I am very impressed. Well done Coach Labrum.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 6:08 p.m.

    What a fantastic coach! We need more caring coaches like him!

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    Sept. 24, 2013 6:04 p.m.

    Excellent job coach, that took some guts.

  • Northwest Coug Pasco, WA
    Sept. 24, 2013 5:59 p.m.

    This coach is awesome. Wish there were more like him.

  • LoveMySports Syracuse, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 5:34 p.m.

    Nice job, coaches.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    Sept. 24, 2013 5:22 p.m.

    Whatever it takes to clean up the mess.
    Good job coach.

  • JLFuller Boise, ID
    Sept. 24, 2013 5:13 p.m.

    Outstanding. As an aside story, there is a term sometimes used in prison and among criminal types called re-spect. Not "respect" but re-spect with heavy emphasis on the "re". It means that among some in this population, authority figures are expected to act responsibly and do their jobs even if it means taking adverse action against the gang member or inmate. The lesson here is even those who at first glance might seem incorrigible are looking for stability and certainty and respect people they can't manipulate. I think the kids in this story discovered that about themselves. Some more less than others.

  • KG South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 5:07 p.m.

    Well done, Coach. If all HS coaches had the guts and integrity shown here, our kids would be much better off.

  • lindsayii Anchorage, Ak
    Sept. 24, 2013 5:02 p.m.

    Great to hear that the parents support the coach too. Life is not always fair. I am sure, many, were totally innocent but it is a team and the team lesson is way more important than a few football games.

  • Play Nice Herriman, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 4:56 p.m.

    Kudos to the parents who supported the teachers. Kudos to the administration who hired these teachers and then stood behind their decisions. Kudos to the team for recognizing there needed to be a change. Kudos to the paper for this report of an excellent example of education as it should be. Roosevelt will be better because of it.

  • itsjustme Vernal, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 4:52 p.m.

    All I have to say is WOW...... Maybe this will catch on in the rest of the State. Good job Coaches and Administrators. And good job to the players that earn their way back on to the team.

  • Big J Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 4:51 p.m.

    Love it. Way to go coaches! Great life lesson.

  • vangroovin West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 24, 2013 4:50 p.m.

    I think this is a good decision and direction for this team. I'm grateful to see that something matters besides the game and winning. Too often winning becomes the priority and we instead make societal losers who care only for fame and glory of winning a game instead of societal winners who have what this coaching staff want - men with character and morals. I'm looking forward to the team Union becomes after this life lesson.