A lesson in respect

After the Gunderson High basketball coach suspended five starters for tardiness, back talking and disrespect in late December, the whole team walked out. The San Jose school’s coach, Mike Allen, called up freshmen and sophomores from the JV squad. The team is losing every game by large margins, reports the San Jose Mercury News. That’s not important, says the coach.

Allen said he had given his players “two, three, four chances” to turn around their attitudes and prove their commitment to the team before suspending the five for what was supposed to be the winter break.

Instead, he said, they continued to talk back, disregard his instruction and showboat on the court.

“These kids nowadays feel they are privileged and have a right,” Allen said. “But they fail to realize what being part of a team is about.”

The mutineers blame a “power-hungry” coach.

“We weren’t being that disrespectful,” said Eddie Perez, a senior who walked out with the suspended players. “He wants to run the team his way and doesn’t listen to our own opinions.”

Lesson not learned, apparently.  Good luck in your first job, Eddie. And your second job. And, if you continue to be a slow learner, your third job.

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  1. Roger Sweeny says:

    I wonder if this wasn’t a bad situation that got out of hand. The players were acting disrespectful, the coach reacted by disrespecting the students, and things escalated.

    It can be extremely hard to keep your cool when teenagers are acting like *ssholes.

    • Not sure how the coach disrespected the players…he set the rules, tried less confrontational ways to solve the problem, and only escalated after they refused to follow him. Seems pretty clear who is on the fault here.

  2. Back in the late 80s, I knew a HS soccer coach who kicked a US national team player off the varsity for a bad attitude and for cutting practices for no reason. He was a disruptive influence on the team, everyone recognized it and I never heard any complaints about his removal.

  3. don;t know all the details apart from the story, but a red flag goes up when a protagonist says “We weren’t being that disrespectful”

  4. It’s been tough to play, Mohamed said, when a couple of former players jeer them from the bleachers. “Some support us,” said Mohamed, 15. “Others just laugh about the game score and all that kind of stuff because we lose every game.”

    It sounds as if the team was in deep trouble before the new coach was hired. Where did the former players ever get the idea they should jeer other players from the bleachers? Could it be that the culture in place before the new coach arrived taught the players the wrong values?

    Parents, however, believe their children have been unfairly criticized and abandoned by yet another coach in a school that has lost too many of them.

    If the players don’t respect their coaches, it’ll be hard to retain coaches. Perhaps the parents should speak with their children about sportsmanship and respecting authority.

    • I believe the former players that are jeering them are the ones who were kicked off/walked off the team.

      • Cranberry says:

        Precisely. And why do they think that’s acceptable behavior? It isn’t. It sheds a terrible light on them, their parents, and their previous coaches.

  5. I once heard someone say the first thing they could to improve the NYC public schools was eliminate HS basketball. I fear he was correct.

  6. This coach did the right thing. My guess is that the players were sabotaging the coach because they resented his taking the former coach’s place. I taught yearbook one semester because the principal had canned the teacher that had always taught it. She had her reasons. What happened is that a coterie of experienced yearbook students undermined everything I tried. They met with the former teacher periodically, and although I don’t know what was said, I can pretty well imagine. The photography teacher was a close friend of the other teacher and sympathized with the rebel students. He worked against me in a passive-aggressive mode. I should have had the saboteurs removed from the class, but I didn’t. If these prima donnas are disrespecting the coach and undermining his efforts, get rid of them and let the frosh-soph team play varsity. Even though they lose, they’ll learn a lot, and they’ll appreciate playing.

  7. I’m happy with this post.

    “The team is losing every game by large margins, reports the San Jose Mercury News. That’s not important, says the coach.”

    In particular, that pleased me. I like that the coach is more focused on trying to get the players to show disciplined commitment to the team rather than simply winning games.

    At the same time, I guess it would only be fair to ask what complaints the players have with the coach and whether those complaints are legitimate.

  8. Respect has to start somewhere. Once we respected the elderly by virtue of their age, the president by virtue of his office. Now it’s, “My momma says I don’t have to respect anyone who doesn’t respect me.” I’m with the coach on this one.

  9. Have we forgotten that respect is earned? Come late, interject your opinion when it’s not asked for, and then arguing with the coach is no way to get respect.

    I used to tell my players,”Show of hands, who’s being paid to be here?”

    I wasn’t being arrogant, just reinforcing the chain of responsibility. If a player voiced a good idea, fine. But the decision was still mine. My job, my team, my responsibility.

    And don’t get me started on the parents who were already spending their 13/14 year old sons’ NBA/NFL/MLS money.