The suspension of five New Jersey football coaches has led to new questions about what constitutes bullying of a student athlete, and what penalties should go along with that crime.
As reported by CBS New York, five football coaches at Cedar Grove High (Cedar Grove, N.J.) have been suspended without pay. While the school district refused to give any official rationale for the coaching bans, those close to the program have indicated that the coaches were punished for bullying one player on the team.
More specifically, the incident focuses on an unidentified player who the coaches felt was asking too many questions. They allegedly dubbed him 'The Riddler' and drew question marks on his practice jersey, leaving the player and his teammates to complain about his treatment
The Cedar Grove School Board acted quickly, suspending five of the school's football coaches for differing lengths. According to Bergen Record, two coaches have been banned for the entire season, one has been suspended until October 9, one will be banned for just the first game of the season and another will miss only the second and third week f the season.
While some parents have voiced cautious support for the coaches due to their past encounters with the staff, most expressed concern and disappointment in their actions.
"There is a fine line, especially when we’re dealing with the younger athletes," private football coach Jeremy Campbell, a former Rutgers player, told CBS New York. "We have to remember that no matter what our backgrounds might be as coaches -- whether we’re former players or whether we grew up with just a genuine love and interest in the game -- there is a line we should not cross when dealing with motivation.
"As a coach, you want to motivate your athletes."
Clearly, the student who was bullied wasn't motivated, nor was he in a safe relationship with his coaches. Instead, he found himself at the mercy of supervisors who found it fitting to belittle his inquisitiveness.