Ah, the great tradition of the postgame handshake line. Two teams arrange themselves single-file after a hard-fought battle and half-heartedly slap hands while muttering various incarnations of “good game.” It’s one of the rituals of sportsmanship, when you can put behind what just happened on the field and express appreciation for the spirit of competition. Or, if you’re a youth football coach in Missouri, it’s the perfect opportunity to whack a child in the head.
In a game between teams in the Park-Rock Football Association in suburban St. Louis, a coach for one team was apparently upset at one of the opposing team’s players. So he took it out on him by shoving him violently in the face during the aforementioned postgame exhange of pleasantries. Naturally, the whole thing was caught on video and immediately plastered on the Internet.
Video after the jump.
At least coaches in St. Louis wait until the players are 11 before smacking them around. A New Jersey coach was arrested in August for going after an eight-year-old player.
The father of player Wesley Deavenport is claiming assault and has reportedly been in contact with local police:
“This grown man approaches him and physically and forcefully pushes him, hits him in the head and my son had no idea why that was happening, how that could be happening, and here he is in a safe zone, a fun sport, and this guy really affected him, emotionally.
“It sounds as though his hand hit right at the point of the face mask and the top of the helmet. And it was enough force to make him almost fall down, backwards. If you see him, he’s grasping as he’s falling backwards, trying to hold himself up, and regain balance.”
One main thing to consider here is that this didn’t become an issue of assault until after Mr. Davenport was aware that the incident was caught on tape, at which time his eyes lit up at the prospect of parlaying his son’s misfortune into like 50 grand.
The coach, who remains unidentified at his request as he hasn’t been charged with anything (yet), is claiming that the little dillweed deserved it:
He says that action viewed on videotape was justified by some of the events that happened during the game. There were referees in attendance.
Hopefully they weren’t Pac-10 refs. The kid would’ve probably been flagged for interference for the incident.
The comments section of the KSDK story contains a defense of the coach from one his players’ fathers:
“Several plays happend during the game which resulted in boys from our team getting hurt. These were not the type of injuries that would normally occur during the course of a physical game like football. These came about from the action of the player in question. He received 2 unsportslike penalties during the game. The Parkway West team has been taught to play in an unsportsmanlike manner...”
And so on and so on. According to this guy, the kid’s team is Ed O’Neill’s team and the assaulting coach’s team is Rick Moranis‘ team, if we’re making a Little Giants analogy out of this (except that Moranis is willing to clock a kid every once in a while). But not so fast, as another commenter comes through with a rebuttal:
“You are wrong about the boy who was hit by the coach. He did not receive two penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct and he did not mouth off or push anyone in the line. I have watched the entire game video and I can only assume that you, the coach and other parents mistook this boy for someone else on the team with a similar number.”