The actions taken by the coaching staff of a winning high school football team in Utah continues to receive national attention and commendation from grateful parents and educators.
After a loss at home last Friday night, Union High School head coach Matt Labrum and his staff suspended all 80 players and told them it was time for an attitude adjustment.
Aware that some players were struggling academically, cutting classes, skipping school, and possibly engaging in cyber bullying, Labrum suspended the entire team and declared no more football until the boys earned the “privilege” to play again, KSL TV reported.
“It just felt like everything was going in a direction that we didn’t want our young men going,” Labrum told KSL TV. “We felt like we needed to make a stand. We’re still practicing, but we’re practicing on some different skills.”
At a team meeting early Saturday morning, Labrum handed the boys a letter – signed by all the coaches –detailing exactly what the players would have to do to get their jerseys back: Two days of community service, character education class, attend all classes and be on time for practice, “demonstrate respect for their teachers, fellow students and members of the community and to maintain their grades,” the station reported.
“Gentlemen, we are not pleased with how our football brothers are representing our family, school, community, alumni, family and yourselves,” the letter titled “Union Football Character” began. “It is a privilege to play this wonderful game!”
“We must earn the opportunity, to have the honor to put on our high schools jersey each Thursday and Friday night! The lack of character we are showing off the field is outshining what we are achieving on the field. We want student-athletes that are humble to learn and grow through adversity and success on and off the field. We want a team that others want to associate themselves with and support; winning isn’t the most important criteria for that to happen.”
“Humbleness, thankfulness, humility, respect, courage and honor are much more important than winning ballgames!”
Parents agreed, and the school district said they didn’t receive a single complaint.
As for the players, they were shocked into learning a life lesson, and the report said most of the team was on track to earning their jerseys back before Friday’s homecoming game.
Watch a report on this great story from KSL TV: