Oct 12, 2012, 1:28 PM EDT
A coach can get fired for kicking one of his football players in the rear? In the south? Times really are a-changin’.
It happened in Americus, Ga., where Americus-Sumter County High School football coach Michael Pollock was put on paid leave for booting one of his players in the hinder during practice. This was done, according to witnesses, because the player wasn’t “going full speed” during a play. Apparently some players complained to the Principal, and an investigation was launched.
Of course when I played high school football, it would have been news if someone wasn’t kicked in the butt during practice. But that was the olden days, before kids’ rears, and parents’ sensibilities, became so tender.
The best part of this story is yet to come, however. Behold excerpts from the County Board of Education hearing on the incident (boldfacing mine):
King called on current Americus-Sumter offensive line coach Brandon Priest to testify. Priest testified that he did see the incident take place, and that Pollock cursed senior offensive lineman Oscar Martinez out before kicking him in the rear for blocking on the wrong assignment. On the cross examination, Alderman highlighted the fact that Priest could not remember exactly which curse words were used, and the fact that Pollock could not have been standing more than a foot or two away from Martinez at the time of the incident.
King called junior Americus-Sumter football player Jonathon Thomas. Thomas described the incident, and Alderman waived the right to cross examine the student. Another junior football player, Mike Russell, described the incident, adding that he heard Pollock call Martinez ADHD. Alderman again waived the right to cross-examine the student, and King called Martinez to the stand.
King then questioned Martinez about what happened on Sept. 11 at practice.
“Apparently I blocked the wrong read and so coach Pollock started screaming and yelling and then came up to me and kicked me and told me I can’t ever do anything right and told me I was too sorry to play,” said Martinez.
Martinez said that after practice Pollock called him into his office and bribed him with a Gatorade and a Snickers bar.
Alderman, in his cross-examination of Martinez, focused on the point that players were wearing full pads that day, and the fact that Pollock was only a foot or two behind Martinez again. Alderman also focused on the fact that Martinez was not wearing any butt pads, even though the team was supposed to be in full pads.
The board voted to fire Martinez by a vote of 4-1, with two abstaining.
And once again one of our precious metaphors is eliminated: no longer can a coach give his team a “kick in the a**” when they’re slacking off. Also, no telling a player to pick himself up by his bootstraps. And of course lighting a fire under your defense is definitely out.
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