The sins of the few can cause the punishment of the many. One high school football coach in Utah is taking that idiom rather literally.
Matt Labrum, head coach of Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah, suspended all 80 of his players on Saturday after the team’s 40-16 loss, according to the Deseret News. The suspensions had nothing to do with the loss or the players’ performance on the field, though. Instead, Labrum cited a “lack of character” as the reasoning for the team’s collective punishment.
Some players were skipping classes or were involved in cyberbullying against a fellow student, according to the report. So, on Saturday, the head coach met with his players and gave each of them a letter outlining what each would need to do to earn back his spot on the team.
“We felt like everything was going in a direction that we didn’t want our young men going,” Labrum said. “We felt like we needed to make a stand.”
Instead of practice this week, the Union High players were told to do community service, attend study hall and take a class on character development. In addition, he required that they do service for their families and write a report detailing their actions. Players were also required to attend all of their classes, and those who were struggling academically were also required to show some level improvement if they wanted to re-join the team.
Check out an excerpt from Labrum’s letter to his players below.
“The lack of character we are showing off the field is outshining what we are achieving on the field. It is a privilege to play this wonderful game! We must earn the opportunity to have the honor to put on our high school jerseys each Thursday and Friday night!”