Question by Football Dad: I think my son may have recieved unfair punishment from coach, what can I do?
My son is a varsity high school football player (he plays defensive tackle) and will be a senior in high school when school starts this year.
Last year, my son was involved in an eye gouging incident during the season opener game against one of our biggest rival schools. Several players from the other team had been complaining to the refs on numerous occasions that the players from our team were trying to eye gouge them when they were at the bottom of the pile, however, since none of them had serious eye injuries to show, and none of the ref’s had seen anything, these initial complaints were ignored. Eventually, in the second half, there was a big pile up after a fumble and my son was near the bottom of the pile. When the pile had dismantled one player from the opposing team was still lying on the ground and was rolling around shrieking in pain, clutching his face. Apparently my son had gouged his eyes during the pile up. Our coach questioned my son about whether he had intentionally gouged the player’s eyes, or if it had been accidental, and my son admitted that he had done it intentionally because he had seen some of his teammates also doing it earlier in the game and he hated the other team since they were our rivals and he wanted to “get some” (I’m somewhat of a novice to the slang terminology of youngsters these days, so I’m not really sure what this means, but this is what my son said).
The player on the other team had to do a short stay in the hospital to recover from a torn eyelid, but did not have any major or permanent damage to his vision, and was out of the hospital after a couple days.
Our team’s coach suspended my son for 2 games for his misconduct.
In my son’s 3rd game back after his suspension, they were playing against another rival team which his team has had some bad blood with for quite a few years. During a big pile up towards the end of the first half, my son was involved in another eye gouging incident. When the pile dismantled, again, there was a player from the opposing team who was rolling around on the ground, shrieking in pain, clutching his face. Our team’s coach questioned my son about whether his eye gouging was intentional or accidental, and my son admitted that he had done it intentionally, as the other player had punched him in the ribs earlier in the game in a pile up, so he said he was getting even.
This time, the player from the other team sustained serious injuries to both of his eyes, recovering partial vision in one eye, and has not recovered any vision in the other eye yet, although the doctors say in the future as technology improves there may be hope to restore most of his vision.
Our team’s coach suspended my son for the final 4 games of the season.
Our team’s coach retired at the end of the season, so, there is a new coach for this season. Apparently he had not known about my son’s incident from last season initially, but found out about it during practice today, and kicked my son off the team and said something to the effect of “You will NEVER play football under my watch” as well as some other inappropriate things to my son.
I was not aware that such harsh penalties even existed as this, that he could be penalized for something that happened in a previous season like this.
Is this a fair or reasonable punishment by this new coach, or should I file a complaint? My son does not have a very good standing with the principle of our school, as he has been suspended numerous times over the past 3 years for beating up some kids who annoyed him in science class (he told me they were “losers” who deserved it for the way they acted in general in that class and that they often tried to show off or annoy other students by frequently raising their hands to ask complicated questions about material that the teacher had said would not even be on the tests just to show off or because they were “homos”) in any case, long story short, I’m not sure he will be given fair treatment by the people in charge of the school, as he has had a long history with them as well, so I feel they may be biased against him.
Is my son’s punishment reasonable, and if not, then what can I do? My son has always been a little bit temperamental, but I know he’s a good kid, and I love him, and I want to do what’s best for him here. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Answer by Matt B
No offense but it is a fair punishment. He ruined the career of another football athlete. Losing vision is one of the hardest injuries a play can sustain and your son did it intentionally making it worse. Your son should have learned from his mistakes. He got his 2nd chance and he blew it in my opinion.I stand by the coach’s decision. The game is for fun and not only did he ruin the kid’s career as an athlete but his hopes and dreams could now be down the drain with impaired vision.
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