BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Many would say they expect a football coach to be tough on his players. However, an investigation has been launched against two coaches because some say their behavior went too far. After reviewing video footage captured of the incident, the Louisiana Youth Football, agrees.
“After the first three seconds of the video, we knew they had gone too far,” Leroy Hollins II, Director of the Louisiana Youth Football, explained. “There will be disciplinary action. Once we know who the two coaches on the video are, they will face disciplinary action for not only this year, but next year as well.”
The incident occurred on Sunday, Oct. 21 at roughly 2:40 p.m. during halftime of a youth football game being held at BREC’s Perkins Road Park. A group of individuals located on the nearby softball fields heard a commotion and went to investigate. They say what they witnessed was shocking.
“We were playing softball and we heard someone screaming very loud from the football field,” the concerned witness who video recorded the incident, explained. “I walked over to see what was going on and it was a coach who was just really getting on these kids hard.
“Everybody was in shock,” he continued. “It was way over the top and he was telling them things you just don’t tell a young kid beginning in sports.”
The halftime rant lasted for nearly 10 minutes and caught the attention of roughly two dozen individuals, who were located between 50-75 yards away.
“We all kind of stood there for a minute and asked each other, ‘Is he really yelling at little kids?’ Laura Kelley, a softball player who witnessed the incident, explained. “We all stood there and stared in disbelief.”
“Those kids couldn’t have been older than 8 or 9 maybe 10 years-old,” Danny Collins, Jr., another softball player, added. “I heard the coach yelling at the kids and telling them that they need to be hitting hard and playing harder because he’s going to run them into the ground next week.”
All of the individuals who witnessed the incident were adults participating in a recreational league. However, they all recall their formative years in sports programs and say it was extreme behavior.
“Personally, I played BREC football for three years and I’ve never had a coach talk to me like that,” Collins added. “He needs to realize that this is why a lot of kids stop playing sports. I used sports as a way to get away from my problems. I didn’t want to go to games to have my coach yell at me and harass me in that tone.”
The sentiments shared by Collins are the same opinions of the Louisiana Youth Football.
“Our code of conduct is to encourage and uplift our kids,” Hollins noted. “We even uphold our fans to the same code of conduct as well.”
The Louisiana Youth Football is a non-profit organization that formed a partnership with BREC in 2005. The group organizes 77 registered teams, with over 2,600 student-athletes (football players and cheerleaders) ranging between 5-13 years old.
“The coaches included have to go through a certification program,” Dale Auzenne, Assistant Superintendent for Programs and Facilities with BREC, explained. “That program includes things such as sportsmanship, code of ethics, practice planning, scheduling, concussion training – so these coaches not only go through extensive training, but they are given a background check as well.”
Although both BREC and the Louisiana Youth Football believe this to be an isolated incident, they do plan to take action to ensure that the largest independent youth football program in Louisiana upholds a safe and supportive environment for its athletes.
“We do not want this to put a black eye on all the hard work we’ve done over the years,” Hollins said. “We’ve always been on the cutting edge of protecting our kids.”