Zero Tolerance = Drama and Poor Lesson for League Children
Today youth sport relies on volunteer parents for coaching in all aspects of youth sport and that also includes administration for many leagues. The intent of any sports league is to provide a positive learning experience for all involved especially the kids.
Poor parent behavior has a negative effect on the league, parents, volunteers, and the kids. What kinds of message are we sending to kids with the behavior of some parents are so deplorable and totally unwarranted?
The following is a recent youth sport situation that transpired and the unfortunate parts of the whole situation is that the adults involved have no real concept of the impact on the league’s kids. The situation is described by Washington Times reporter Marissa Payne.
People really shouldn’t wear racist T-shirts anywhere — especially not around children. Unfortunately, a now former assistant vice president of an Alabama cheerleading team, and his friend didn’t get the message. The pair recently sported racist, pro-Ku Klux Klan shirts to a cheer practice in Boaz, Ala., resulting in his resignation as an administrator for the league.
That is not the most outrageous part of this story, though the VP of cheerleading, who said his shirt depicting a white-hooded man in front of a burning cross with the text “The original boys in the hood” was a joke, isn’t the only person no longer affiliated with the kids’ cheerleading squad so is the volunteer coach who reported the VP of cheerleading to the commissioner of the North Alabama Youth Football & Cheerleading League.
The volunteer cheerleading coach was banned; and had this to say “I’m just disgusted because I feel like I didn’t do anything wrong besides make a complaint that should have been kept private to begin with.” Additionally, she wasn’t banned by the commissioner but by Boaz Cheer’s vice president’s wife due to drama in cheerleading involving the volunteer coach.
There was no zero tolerance policy prior to the incident but because of the problem the commissioner; “said he informed parents that racist clothing will no longer be tolerated at any other Youth Football & Cheerleading League practice or event.”
This incident is a prime example of why people involved in youth sports need proper training in administration and coaching and I for one hope that this is a wake-up call for leagues that are not training all volunteers to require it and do so. The United States Sports Academy has programs to help educate coaches and volunteers.
Fred Cromartie, Ed. D.
Dr. Cromartie is the Director of Doctoral Studies at the United States Sports Academy.