According to a CNN BleacherReport.com article, a Utah high school football coach suspended his 80-player team last week after continued reports of character issues such as bullying, academic trouble and rudeness toward their teachers. Matt Labrum, the head coach at Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah, collected equipment from the players and explained that the team would not be permitted to play until they “proved themselves as human beings.”
“We felt like everything was going in a direction that we didn’t want our young men going,” said Labrum, an alumnus of the program he’s coached for the past two years. “We felt like we needed to make a stand.”
The “suspension” only lasted one day; the team performed community service this past weekend instead of practicing for their upcoming game against another local high school.
“We looked at it as a chance to say, ‘Hey, we need to focus on some other things that are more important than winning a football game,” Labrum said. “We got an emotional response from the boys. I think it really meant something to them, which was nice to see that it does mean something. There was none of them that fought us on it.”
“I still have the love for it and everything,” senior running back Gavin Nielsen said of playing football after the suspension. “But it helped me realize, it’s not all about football.”