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!
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.
And then the coach fumbles!clearly the coach caved into pressure.how
many games did he actually forfeit?Kind of like getting a safetysure
you get two points, but not the same as a touchdown!
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".
@thatguy1999"It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to
condemn an innocent one."Voltaire 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.
@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
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!!!
This would really separate the men from the boys.
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!
@ 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
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.
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
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.
Now if we could just get coaches and educators in California to step up, maybe
the parents also. I like this coach!
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.
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!
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 favoritesIt is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn
an innocent one.Voltaire 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
@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!
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!!
@The RockI 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?Thanks!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
I have never had so much respect for a coaching staff. You will have an amazing
team when they return.
Outstanding job coach, I would let my son play for you any day. We need more
coaches like him.
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
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.
@SteveinAZYou 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
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
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!
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.
I hope someone makes a movie about this! Class act coaches!
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.
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.
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!
So, higv, MONEY is more important CHARACTER?I guess that's the
ultra conservative view of life. . . .
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.
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.
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!
@SLCGuyNothing 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 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!
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.
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
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.
It's refreshing to know we have high school teachers and coaches who still
get the purpose of high school athletics. Great job Union!!!
As a high school coach just have to say...great to see this!
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
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.
Excellent work coach!
Utah needs more coaches like Matt. Great Job!!!
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
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.
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
@ 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.
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.
This is a life lesson for all, that poor behavior is not tolerated. Needs to
happen to youth, and adults!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Every decision and action has consequences.
WOW,I WISH my sons coaches cared like this. All they care about is
Winning. Maybe that is why they have a LOSING record.
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
What a fantastic coach! We need more caring coaches like him!
Excellent job coach, that took some guts.
This coach is awesome. Wish there were more like him.
Nice job, coaches.
Whatever it takes to clean up the mess.Good job coach.
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
Well done, Coach. If all HS coaches had the guts and integrity shown here, our
kids would be much better off.
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.
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.
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.
Love it. Way to go coaches! Great life lesson.
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.