Parents worried football coach encouraged bullying

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Story by: Janai Norman
Updated: 9/12/2013 12:52 pm Published: 9/12/2013 12:45 pm

An Osage County superintendent is investigating claims of bullying in the ranks of a school’s football team.

Parents in Hominy tell FOX23 they’re concerned a middle school football coach encouraged players to bull teammates by kicking, kneeing and punching other players during a drill called “Against the Wall.”

“These boys were let to beat up on the other kids pinned against the wall, punching them in the stomach,” one mother who didn’t want to be identified tells FOX23’s Janai Norman

The mom we talked to says according to her son, that drill became an outlet for anger and other problems between players, with the coach allegedly telling players, “There’s no repercussions, no pink slips, no detention, if you got revenge on a kid, here’s your chance, so call him out.”

We sat down with Superintendent Russell Hull to get answers.

He remembered the drill from when he was a coach, but says he didn’t think it had been used in years.
Superintendent Hull was unsure of why the drills were done away with back in 1998, but admits pinning players to a wall and roughing them up could cross the line.

“Yeah, I could see that happening,” he said when asked about the possibility of things getting out of hand. “I could see that transpiring if the coach didn’t blow the whistle in time for it to stop.”

FOX23 discovered that’s where there may have been a breakdown.

The mom we spoke to said, “He told the boys he gets distracted so he didn’t always blow the whistle.”

She says she knows football is physical, but physical aggression is a whole other ball game.

“My son sat and watched other kids bullied while a coach encouraged it.”

FOX23’s Janai Norman asked the superintendent, “Do you worry that if this did happen, it could be encouraging bullying?”

“I hadn’t thought about it that way, hadn’t thought of it that way,” Superintendent Hull began. “But it’d be something I have to think about.”

The superintendent says he is investigating the claims and will talk with coaches and players before making a decision. But he says regardless of what happens, bullying will not be tolerated.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

justme - 9/13/2013 8:54 AM
0 Votes
I can see that people think that this is all okay. Even reading the comments about this drill from a former player stating that they see nothing wrong with this behavior. They state that it's okay to punch and see how tough they are. Yes, this is just a football drill and I get that football players want to prove how big and bad they are, but what does this show the younger kids? The kids here are brought up with this mentality that showing how tough they are is okay! It runs rampant through this school district. Not just in a high school football drill, but from the elementary all the way through the high school. I've talked to parents of all of these age groups and it's something that needs to be addressed district wide, not just in this high school drill. Someone needs to fix it. So far, I have only heard of ONE teacher that has taken a positive stand against it and it truly concerned about the behavior of one of her students. And to that teacher, I commend her, but what of the rest of the kids that are being bullied in Hominy on a daily basis. If we address it as a whole across the entire district MAYBE this drill wouldn't be taken to the extremes that it has been.

BuckFan - 9/12/2013 10:34 PM
0 Votes
Fox 23, if you want the full story, I suggest you interview some Hominy Buck football players, past or present. The majority of feedback seen on Facebook is overwhelmingly in support of this longstanding drill. Do you care to get both sides of the story?

Thorney979 - 9/12/2013 3:41 PM
1 Vote
I used to go to Hominy Schools (Class of 2011) and this drill is no where as "brutal" as this article claims to make it. I was an offensive and defensive lineman. We didn't use this drill to "get revenge" on other players. We used it as a tool to work on breaking double teams. Yes, if you got pressed up against the wall, you got to be punched by the other two players in the stomach, but we were never allowed to knee or kick. And as far as "bullying" goes, they would rotate the group of three, so it wasn't used to single out a specific player. In my eyes, there is nothing wrong with this drill. Yes, it is considered "brutal" in today's football standards where everything is about making it more safe. But playing for two years on the Hominy football team, I never saw anybody get hurt or claim to be "bullied" by this drill. The coaches would pair up the groups based on size and skill, so everyone in the group was even in those terms. Everyone on the team loved this drill, it was one of those drills where you got to test your skills and prove how tough you were, and everyone looked forward to it. There is nothing wrong with this drill.
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