High school coach suspends nearly every player on football team

Posted at 8:35 AM, Sep 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-26 08:35:42-04

ROOSEVELT, Utah (WTVR) – A high school football coach in Utah is garnering national attention for making a rather unusual play, he suspended nearly every player on the team.

Union High School football coach Matt Labrum had grown frustrated with reports of his players skipping class, receiving poor grades and allegedly cyber-bullying a fellow student.

Labrum said, “I think the most important thing is that we build character.”

After last Friday’s game, he sat his players down in the locker room and told them to turn in their jerseys and equipment. The football season would be over until they earned their way back onto the team. Labrum said, “It was very emotional for both sides, the coaches and players.”

He handed the players a letter outlining his decision that read, “Gentleman, we are not pleased with how our football brothers are representing our family, school … and yourselves.”

He added, “It is a privilege to play this wonderful game!”

Labrum then laid out the criteria each player would need to meet to rejoin the squad: attend all practices, be on time, have no discipline problems. Each would need to complete a community service project and memorize a quote about good character.

Labrum got the support of his fellow coaches, school administrators, even parents.

So far almost all of Labrum’s players have met that criteria, working on various community events last week. One player said, “It’s a lot of relief for sure, getting my jersey back. I love it.”

The team returns to the football field on Thursday with a lot more to think about than their next game.