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11-06-2013, 08:11 AM
Seth Lake
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Reading through headlines this morning and there is word now from the Miami Dolphins bullying situation that the coaching staff instructed Incognito to "toughen up" Martin and just underneath that is a middle school football coach being fired for refusing to change the location of a team party from Hooters and it really makes me cringe.

As a coach for over a decade at the high school, collegiate, and youth levels I'm appalled. If you are going to give that type of instruction to Incognito you cannot leave it open for interpretation. They are both adults and that is an instruction you might give in that situation in that environment, but in order to cover your butt and make sure that that doesn't blow up as it has you have to be very specific in what you want as a desired outcome and how far you are willing to see it go to get to that outcome and most importantly, you monitor the situation to make sure does not ever reach the outcome that has resulted in this case.

As for the middle school coach, when early in my career and coaching at a collegiate club level we always had a team dinner at Hooters just outside of Philadelphia at the league wide preseason tournament and took a team picture that was specifically known as being not for online publication. There was nothing wrong with the behavior at the event. Guys that had a beer or two (which was monitored) were of age. Our hotel was literally within eyesight and there was never any inappropriate conduct because we made it clear upfront and monitored the behavior both as coaches and through our team captains that that was not going to be tolerated. This is a MIDDLE SCHOOL TEAM! That is completely inappropriate for a school based program. Open your eyes and use the thing between your ears.

People in positions of influence have to be leaders. They cannot act on their own whims without considering the good of the team and their choices and decisions should reflect positively on their program. That's not to say you don't have your moments and make bad decisions from time to time. People are human. But in both these cases there should have been red flags all over the place smacking you right in the face and saying, "let's stop and reconsider this" and they didn't. That's unacceptable.

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