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Youth football mercy rule infuriates parents, includes fine, suspension

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youth-footballIn the latest example of political correctness run amok, a California youth football league has instituted stiff new penalties for any teams that beat opponents by 35 points or more.

The Northern California Federation Youth Football League will fine teams $200 and their coaches will be suspended from league activities for two weeks if they violate the mercy rule, according to the local NBC affiliate.

The league previously issued teams a warning following such blowouts and required a written description that detailed what the victorious team had done to try and keep scores low.

As reported, other youth leagues have similar penalties, but they usually don’t kick in until the disparity in score between the teams is almost twice as much as 35 points — which equates to just five scores in football.

Robert Rochin, the league deputy commissioner, said the rule is a pro-active attempt to keep more kids interested in the sport while teaching others how to be good sports.

“We lose a lot of football players because their teams lose so badly,” Rochin told KCRA. “If they are constantly getting beat, who wants to play anymore?”

“It’s not hurting the kids, it’s teaching them compassion for the other team. It’s teaching them sportsmanship,” he continued.

Some parents are furious about the new rule, saying it is cheating their children and coaches of football and wastes money on fines, KCRA reported. Along with safety concerns, parents say the rule can effect player development.

While not as absurd as a Canadian youth soccer association’s recent decision to no longer keep scores in games, this is another misguided attempt to protect our children from the harsh realities of life, resulting in young adults ill-prepared for the world around them.

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Tom Tillison

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