When Coaches Go Bad - New Berlin's Unethical Behavior Saturday

Brown Deer, Football, Youth Sports

I'm a Dad.  My son plays youth football.  In our little burb that means that I'm also a volunteer.

All parents are asked to pitch in.  Some help in concessions.  Some run the chains. I take the photos of the kids games and I'll admit, I do have fun doing it. 

But today as I was combing through the photos, deciding which to keep and which to delete before sending to the team website for all to see, I got angry -- make that angry again.  I don't often get angry.  One of the only thing that sets me off is when I see something that is fundamentally wrong or unethical and on Saturday I saw something horrible from the Coach at New Berlin Eisenhower.

As the team photographer I have to be concerned about light, angles and variety.   I like to make my way around the field, taking photos from the home team side, the end zones, and even the visiting team side.

This week was an away game for the 7th Grade Brown Deer Falcons.

When I was taking pictures from the Eisenhower home team side, one of the coaches screamed out to his players, and I'll paraphrase, "now.  Now is the play you need to go after #72".  This was in the 4th quarter when New Berlin Eisenhower was already up by at least 3 touchdowns.  
Coaches are not supposed to target players -- at least ethical coaches.  You play the ball, not the man, or in this case boy.  These kids are 12 and 13 years old and the New Berlin Eisenhower coach was screaming out to his players to do physical harm to a Brown Deer player !  This was clearly an order by the New Berlin Coach to do physical harm to a player on the opposing team.
I'll share with you that I've known this kid since he was a little kid and when I say little, that's all relative, because he's always been tall.  When he was just 5 or 6 years old he played on my sons soccer team when I was an assistant coach.  He's a good kid and it hurt to see him targeted.
The Coaches orders were heard by one of the refs who turned to him, ran over to him on the sidelines, and said "no, we aren't going to have any of that". 
I thought that would be the end of it.
Shortly after that, #72 was injured on a play.  It was the only injury of the game.
There was no reason for this.  This didn't have to happen.  New Berlin Eisenhower was already up by 3 touchdowns in the fourth quarter.  There was no strategical advantage to be gained by targeting a player.  There is never an excuse to send kids out to harm other kids.  The football field is not supposed to be a place for kids to have fun.  I realize this sort of thing might happen in the NFL but these kids are 12 and 13 years old.  There is never o.k. for an adult to target a child.  These are not child gladiators.  These are real kids with real families.  These are kids who will go home at the end of the day and ride their bikes around our neighborhoods and play their video games and do what kids do.
I don't know if this coach from New Berlin Eisenhower is a father, but if he is, I would hope that in future games before ordering a hit on another kid, that he would think about how he would feel if his own child was the one being targeted.
It appears that a few New Berlin folks who were not standing where I was nor could have seen or heard what I saw have taken offense to me calling out this coach for his actions.  Their anonymous comments have ranged from respectful to venomous.  All the same, it is the policy now and always has been my policy, to not approve comments from anonymous sources.  If readers would like their comments approved, please provide the same courtesy of your real name that I have provided and regardless of whether I agree with you or not, your comments will be welcomed. 
Follow up:  A New Berlin mother who insisted on remaining anonymous wrote a response to this column.  Although it is not my policy to approve anonymous comments, the editor of mybrowndeernow chose to publish her response as a column.  While I disagree with that approach and feel it diminishes the credibility of mybrowndeernow, the decision to publish an uncredited story is his perogative as an editor.  (UPDATE: She sent the editor her alleged name, Jennifer Zielinski.  In fact, it appears her real name is J. Colbie.  For the record, if she'll toy with the editor like this, I don't give her Mrs. Colbie any credibility.)
That being said, there is one section of her post which, for the sake of an open dialogue, merits posting and a thoughtful response.  She writes:
Factually, your team was down 4 touchdowns by the 4th quarter.  The coach wanted to make sure all players participated in the game, but he was concerned about all players (on both teams) getting hurt. He chose in the 4th quarter to put in some of his smaller, perhaps not as aggressive players to enjoy some playing time.  However, the Brown Deer coach still left his biggest player in the game.  This child you speak of is much larger and much heavier than those he was opposing.  The coach from New Berlin yelled across the field..."take him out.  Take #72 out".  Yes, this much of what you claim to have heard is true.  However, Mr. McGuigan, he was speaking to the other coach to ask him to take his player out of the game so NO ONE got hurt. And you are correct Mr. McGuigan that the referee told the coach "there will be none of that” but it was meant that one coach cannot communicate across the field to another coach.  This too has been confirmed.
And my response:
Dear New Berlin Eisenhower "Mom",
I appreciate your clear vigor for your team and your loyalty to your child's coach.  However, you assert that the New Berlin coach pulled his first string so that should be a reason for Brown Deer to pull their first string.  The New Berlin coach does not have any control over the Brown Deer coaching staff.  Shortly after the New Berlin coach yelled his order, #72 was indeed "taken out".  As you know, players who hope to get play time do as their coach says and do not question their coach.  From my standpoint, within 20 feet of the New Berlin coach issuing his orders directly to the players lining up on the center of the field, it sounded like he was ordering a hit on a Brown Deer child.  If it sounded like that to me, it must have sounded like that to his own players.  I do not question whether the New Berlin coach is a good man or not.  I do not claim to know him.  However, even good men can do or say bad things. I will say this -- he excercised poor judgement.

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