It was a real stunner when Mack Breed, the defensive coach at John Jay HS, came forth and acknowledged that he instructed his two defensive backs, Moreno and Rojas, to “hit” the ref and make him pay because the ref had made bad calls against John Jay all game.
And the two football players did just that. They followed the coach’s instructions, and blindsided the ref.
The video tape is very clear.
Now, let me try and put this San Antonio HS football assault into perspective…what the bigger meaning is.
By all accounts, these two HS students seem to be regular kids. Very presentable. Take school seriously.
John Jay HS is an award-winning HS in San Antonio.
And yet…they both claim that their defensive coach instructed them to deliberately take out the ref.
Two questions immediately come into play:
Why in the world would a coach — presumably a grown-up adult – actually instruct a player to deliberately hurt an official in a game?
And why wouldn’t these kids have enough common sense to stop and think about the repercussions of their actions before doing this?
I talk on WFAN all the time about the importance of accountability, and why our kids need to learn this crucial concept….to learn how to think ahead about their actions BEFORE THEY do it. In short, it’s a vital skill that teenagers have to consciously learn.
As a parent (or coach), if you can teach your youngster to always think ahead about what kinds of consequences their actions will have, then you have done an excellent job in teaching your kid to become mature. In this case, I would like to ask Rojas and Moreno to explain what they thought would happen to the ref if they hit him hard from behind, and also what kind of punishment they might be given for doing that.
The kids make their attack in the middle of a HS football game, with lots and lots of witnesses. And of course, every play in the game is videotaped.
And yet they still did it. In short, they didn’t think first about their actions.
ARE WE TOO LAX WITH PUNISHMENTS?
I know I’m “old school” about this….but I do wonder about the seemingly lax rules that abide in Codes of Conduct. Many schools in this country give athletes several chances to screw up before the penalties start to become harsh.
Look, I understand that teenagers make mistakes. But my argument is that why are we so kind and forgiving? That is, if we made it abundantly clear to our teenage athletes that you don’t get a second chance, I wonder whether that might force them to think twice before doing stupid things.
That might sound like a modern day form of tough love, but I do think it’s an approach worth considering. If there were a zero-tolerance approach with today’s student-athletes, maybe they would think twice before getting drunk at a party, or breaking team curfew, or sending out something stupid on their Twitter account, or before they decide to assault a ref from behind.
Once they did begin to think ahead about their actions, they progress from being teenagers into mature adults.
In this case, nobody has asked the two football players what or how they thought they would be punished. Or if they realized they could really hurt the ref.
I presume they were just more interested in gaining some positive feedback from their coach for their actions….obviously, the coach is not very smart either by telling the kids to hit the ref.
So my takeaway is this: we really need to get our coaches and parents to make penalties and punishments really stand up so that there’s no temptation to break the rules. There’s nothing wrong with hazing a zero-tolerance policy in place. Kids will live with it and will learn from it. Besides, it might just prevent all sorts of other terrible incidents from taking place.
I would suggest you sit down with your HS athletic director to see if the time has come to toughen up your school’s Code of Conduct. You might be surprised at how lenient it is.