BREC officials said Monday they were investigating a video that appeared to show youth football coaches yelling at a group of 7- and 8-year-olds, including threats to make them run “all day” if they didn’t play better.
The 54-second video was shot by a passer-by who said he didn’t want to be identified because he works at a government agency and feared repercussions.
The video is shot through a chain-link fence, making the faces impossible to see.
But the coaches can be heard.
“Front line, you better block and bust ’em up like never before!” a coach can be heard yelling. “Y’all will definitely be scared of me!” a coach screams.
Moments later, a coach threatens to have the children run if they don’t do what he wants.
“I will run your butt all day,” he yells. “Blow them off the damn line!”
Leroy Hollins, the volunteer director of Louisiana Youth Football, the organization that runs the East Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission’s youth football programs, said he thought a coach might have gotten carried away.
“Football in an intense sport,” he said. “It seems like it was a heat-of-the-moment incident during halftime.”
Hollins said he thought the coach was trying to motivate the children.
“Coaches intend to rev their players up, but at the same time, it doesn’t make it right,” he said.
BREC and Louisiana Youth Football were investigating, Hollins said.
“We don’t know who the coaches are,” he said. “We are working on narrowing down who the voices are so that we can swiftly, strictly punish them.”
The offending coaches could face probation, suspension or even banishment from the league, Hollins said.
“The actual part that is troubling to us and really stood out to me is the threat to run the kids at the next practice,” Hollins said. “That’s taking the fun out of it for the kids.”
That kind of threat is “unacceptable,” Hollins said.
Louisiana Youth Football has 70 teams in its program that it runs for BREC, with more than 2,600 players ranging from 4- to 12-year-olds, Hollins said.
The program has 365 coaches, he said.
Each coach goes through a background check and a training and certification process each year, he said.
“The program we have here is a successful program,” said Dale Auzenne, an assistant superintendent for BREC. “BREC along with Louisiana Youth Football will not tolerate that kind of behavior.”
Hollins and Auzenne said they hoped to have the investigation completed by the end of the week.
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To hear the audio of the coaches, go to http://www.theadvocate.com.