MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Parents and students packed the Chippewa Valley Board of Education meeting to show support for the head football coach who was suspended on the eve of a playoff game because of a video.
The video showed someone burning a varsity jacket.
Dakota High School football players and their parents said the team is being bullied online by adults who should know better. They said the board didn’t take their concerns seriously and went to Monday’s meeting in full force.
“They were called poor sports, lowlifes, drug addicts, future murderers, wife beaters, animal abusers,” a parent of a football player, Mark Hall, said. “What was the administrations response? Silence.”
Earlier this month, a social media firestorm erupted after the video went viral. It was a video of a Dakota parent burning his Chippewa Valley varsity jacket after his son’s team beat Chippewa.
Superintendent Ron Roberts condemned the adults targeting players.
“It bothers me that your parents tell me you’ve been bullied on social media and I’m sorry for that. As adults we should lead by example,” Roberts said.
Dakota players said it’s too little, too late. While the district’s investigation cleared Dakota coaches and players of any wrongdoing -- just a few hours before their playoff game -- the team was told their coach was suspended. The Cougars lost that game, ending their season.
“Let’s just put it this way, I got a 6 foot, 2 inch, 260 pound kid and he was an infant in my arms after that game,” a parent said. “It’s a travesty what they did and I’m still sick about it.”
The district stands by its decision.
“Coaches needed to react in a certain way. Nothing was done to move those kids from the fire. Believe me, I feel sorry for the players, but I think there are lessons to be learned about life and doing the right things,” Roberts said.
The parent who burned his own varsity jacket has been barred from attending any events without the permission of administrators.
Dakota families want the same for adults who bullied the team.