A high school football team has been suspended by their coaching staff for cyber-bullying. In a character-building exercise, the players were instructed to turn in their jerseys and to meet certain criteria during the week in order to be reinstated in time to play in their games on Thursday and Friday night.
Roosevelt, Utah’s Union High School football head coach Matt Labrum laid down the law by a letter, shown below, to each of the 80 players on the team. Labrum does not tolerate attitude or discipline problems from his players. As the letter says, “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.”
The suspension was announced after last Friday’s game, with the full support of school administrators and the parents of the players. Coach Labrum was frustrated about reports of his players skipping class, receiving poor grades and cyber-bullying a fellow student. The suspension evoked an emotional response from the players.
Below is the letter sent to each of the players.
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.
The story does have a happy ending. Most of the players were reinstated in time for this week’s games.
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