H.S. Football Coach Goes 'Coach Carter' On Team, Teaches Important Lesson

By Emma Koch - NBC33

Credit: KSL5

H.S. Football Coach Goes 'Coach Carter' On Team, Teaches Important Lesson

September 26, 2013 Updated Sep 26, 2013 at 10:08 AM EST

ROOSEVELT, Utah (NBC33) -- A high school football coach has asked his team to turn in their jerseys after he found out that some of the players had engaged in cyber bullying.

The problem had been developing, with some of the players struggling academically and others having attitude issues, and according to KSL5 head coach of Union High School's football team, Matt Labrum, said that "it just felt like everything was going in a direction that we didn't want our young men going."

The coaching staff decided to make a stand and following a home game, they asked all 80 varsity and junior varsity players to hand in their jerseys. The team was upset and parents told KSL5 that their sons came out of the locker room in tears.

The next morning the coaching staff told the team that they would play again if they met some specific terms. Labrum said "we were looking at football as a right, rather than a privilege."

In order to get back on the field in uniform, the team was going to elect new captains, perform acts of service for their families, perform two days of community service in lieu of practice, attend a mandatory character-education class, a study hall session and memorize and recite a paragraph-long quote about the value of having good character.

Coaches had learned that one or a couple of players from the team had used ask.fm to anonymously cyber bully another student at the high school and Labrum sat down with that student to apologize on the team's behalf.

They also had to pledge to be on time for practices, be respectful with teachers, students and other members of the community and maintain their grades.

According to KSL5, parents have been supportive of the coaching staffs decision. One parent said that she doesn't see it as a punishment, but as a chance for the boys to learn a life lesson. Another parent said that building the team and building good character will make good men out of them.

"It's not all about football," senior Gavin Nielsen told KSL5 during a break from pulling weeds. "It's really good to get the wins and play the game, but football is just a stepping stone that helps us grow up."