WAGS R&D Committee Meeting
Fairview Park Marriott
November 3, 2008
Committee Members Present: Lula Bauer (Director), Debbie Honaker, Maria Ramos, Mike Nicholas, Rick Tamaro, Michelle White (Administrator).
FRED FC Frederick: Head Coach, Assistant Coach, Team Manager, (2) parents.
CYA Firecats: Head Coach, Assistant Coach, Chairman, Club Representative, (2) players, (3) Parents
CYA (U14 D1) filed a report based on an alleged racial slur: violation of WAGS Rule M.1. Game Conduct during match no. 4308 CYA Firecats vs FRED FC Frederick.
The meeting began with introductions and the R&D Director explaining the procedure of the hearing and the appeal process.
CYA Player (CYA Player #1) testified that in the first five to ten minutes of the match a foul was called on her which resulted in a Direct Free Kick to the opposing team. She testified that at the time that the foul was called, she heard a FRED parent yell at the Center Referee (CR), “Give her a yellow card.” The player stated that her response to the parent was, “Shut your mouth.” CYA Player #1 then testified that she heard a FRED parent say, “Did your “racial slur” mother tell you to say that?” CYA Player #1 stated that she at first ignored the comment and continued to play but was soon subbed out. When she exited the pitch, she began to cry hysterically regarding the comment. The CYA Head Coach (HC) calmed her down so he could understand what was said. The HC told her to ignore the statement, and to continue to play her game; however, it should be noted that evidence presented at the hearing indicated that the HC thought the racial slur was made by a FRED player.
CYA Player #1 continued her testimony, stating that she was still upset at half time and that her team was just as upset as she was in regard to the racial slur that was made.
After the match was over, CYA Player #1 explained to the HC that it was actually a FRED parent who made the racial slur. CYA Player #1 also testified that she started walking to the parking lot where several parents from both teams stopped to wait for players. CYA Player #1 stated that she and several teammates were talking about the racial slur as they were walking toward the parking lot. She further stated that the FRED parent that made the racial slur overheard the conversation and interjected by denying the allegation. CYA Player #1 stated that one of her teammates said to the FRED parent, “That’s not something you can just say to a 14 year old.” Following that statement CYA Player #1 stated that the FRED parent responded with, “Yeah, but ask her why I said that to her.” CYA Player #1 ended her testimony by saying that other FRED parents started to defend the FRED parent’s statement. She said to the FRED parent, “I told you to shut your mouth and that gave you the right to say that to me?” At that time, a CYA parent escorted the player away from the crowd.
CYA Player # 2 testified that she was a few feet away from CYA Player #1 when the foul was committed. She heard CYA Player #1 say to the FRED parent, “Shut your mouth,” to which the FRED parent responded with the alleged racial slur. CYA Player #2 stated that she was totally surprised by what she heard. At halftime, the CYA players discussed it while the CYA HC talked to Player #1 privately.
CYA Player #2 stated that after the game as the CYA players were discussing the incident, the FRED parent that they felt made the racial slur interjected and stated that she did not make that comment. CYA Player # 2 further testified that she saw the CYA HC and a FRED parent arguing with each other. The CYA AC got in between them, and he was pushed.
The CYA HC testified that he and his AC were the last to leave the field as they were cleaning up the area. He stated that the CYA parents and the FRED parents were about 10 feet away from each other in the parking lot. The HC further stated that the FRED parents were talking to his players. He asked them why they were talking to his players, and the FRED parents’ response was that his players were lying. The CYA HC responded by telling the FRED parents they were “pathetic.” He further testified that a FRED parent aggressively approached him and was close to his face. The CYA AC coach, whose hands were full with equipment, positioned himself in between the CYA HC and the FRED parent, and was pushed by the FRED parent. The CYA parents screamed not to push the CYA AC. The owner of the pitch asked everyone to leave.
A CYA parent testified that she heard CYA Player # 1 say, “Shut your mouth,” but she did not hear the racial slur. She further testified that she was standing near CYA Player #1 when the FRED parent who denied that she made the comment approached her.
The FRED HC asked if the CYA team spoke to the CR at halftime regarding the comment, to which the CYA HC said that he did not. The FRED TM asked if the CYA TSL was at the game and signed the game card, to which the CYA HC responded that his TSL was there and signed the game card, but he was not present after the match.
A Committee member asked CYA Player #1 if the FRED parent who made the racial slur was present at the hearing, to which she replied she did not remember the offending parent fully. She further stated that the comment was made for certain people to hear.
Another Committee member asked about the weather conditions of the day, to which the CYA HC said the pitch was wet and there was no wind.
The FRED HC began his testimony by stating that he would like to apologize to the CYA players. He further stated that no players should ever be exposed to situations of adults behaving badly. He commended the CYA team for their competitive play making it a great match. He stated that he takes the allegations of the CYA HC very seriously, and he does not condone such conduct. The FRED HC continued by stating that after the match, the he was speaking to his players at the far end of the pitch, which was about 100 yards away. He further stated that the CYA AC explained in an animated fashion that he had been pushed. The FRED HC stated that he told his AC to investigate the situation while he stayed with his players as he felt that their safety was his first priority. The FRED HC stated that he had his players turn away from the situation and to do an additional cool down until he was sure the situation was diffused. He continued to state that after the situation, he quickly investigated the alleged racial slur and the post-game incident. He stated that he suspended the FRED parent who was involved in the parking lot incident with the CYA HC for the remainder of the season. He requested this parent to attend the WAGS R&D hearing to apologize or to provide a written statement of apology. The FRED HC stated that he held a parents’ meeting and read the WAGS Parents’ Code of Conduct verbatim to them. He testified that he stressed that the situation that occurred at the CYA match may never be repeated or the parents would not be welcomed on the sideline. He stated that he has kept the FRED Club officials apprised of the situation. The FRED HC read for the record the apology note written by the parent involved in the pushing incident.
The FRED TM began his testimony by stating that there was one CR and one AR. He tried to locate the CYA TM but was told that she was not there and was directed to the CYA AC. He tried to get the team sticker for the game card, but CYA could not find one. He could not locate the CYA’s TSL. The CR stated that he would take care of the game card since the FRED TM had to leave at half time. He further stated that he was standing next to a parent who did yell at the CYA player, “That is the third time ref,” to which the CYA player responded, “You need to shut your mouth.” The FRED TM stated that the FRED parent responded, “Is that how you talk to your mother?” He stated that the FRED Parent went to her car after the match.
Two FRED parents testified that they did witness the exchange between the CYA Player #1 and the FRED parent, but they did not hear the FRED parent use a racial slur. They continued to say that if an egregious slur was made, the other parents and team officials would absolutely not have tolerated it. They further testified that they heard the CYA HC saying that he thought that the FRED players were pathetic and nasty players. They also witnessed the confrontation between the FRED parent and the CYA HC. They testified that they repeatedly asked for the CYA TSL, but received no answer from the CYA team.
A Committee member asked where was the CYA TSL to which the CYA AC responded that the CYA TSL was on the sideline when the first incident occurred, and he was in the men’s room when the second incident occurred.
After the deliberation, the Committee directed the following action to be taken:
The Committee wants to commend CYA Player #1 and CYA Player #2 for coming to the hearing and bravely stating their testimony. In situations such as these where the allegations are of a highly sensitive and egregious nature, the Committee takes its obligation seriously to carefully examine the testimony thoroughly.
The Committee finds the CYA Players’ testimony credible and consistent that something was said, but found it most difficult to confirm the exact content of the comment. The Committee took into consideration that the FRED parents would not condone that type of exchange from any parent associated with FRED, coupled with their admission that what was heard was, “Is that how you talk to your mother?”
Further, regardless of the exact content of what was said, it deeply saddens the Committee that parents would behave and engage with players on the field in such a negative manner. There is no place in youth soccer for such behavior. The Committee feels that the FRED parents violated the Parent Code of Conduct. As a consequence, there are specific and appropriate actions that should be taken.
The WAGS’ Parent Code of Conduct states:
“Never insult, demean, or criticize any participant, whether player, game official, or team official. Offensive, insulting, or abusive language is absolutely contrary to the spirit of the game.”
The FRED parents’ behavior during and after the match was nothing less than egregious and has no place in youth sports. This is an issue that the Committee considers of great importance and one that will not be tolerated.
Therefore, with the exception of the Head Coach, Assistant Coach, (1) STAR, (1) Team Manager, and (1) TSL, ALL FRED parents and affiliates must be a minimum of 100 yards from the pitch during the next three matches played by FRED in the next season in which the team competes in the WAGSL. The Committee strongly recommends a list of cell phone numbers for any emergency be given to the team manager.
Also, the CYA Firecat TSL and the FRED FC Frederick TSL failed to meet the requirements of the TSL and will each be required to pay a $250.00 fine. The fine must be received in the WAGS’ office no later than December 2, 2008. The TSL position requires that:
Prior to each game, the TSLs will identify themselves to each other and to the referee(s).
Be the “cooler head” should sideline behavior become extreme.
In the event that an incident does occur which requires R&D involvement, the TSL will attend the hearings.
The Committee commends the FRED HC for taking the allegations seriously and responding to them in an aggressive manner. The Committee supports the FRED HC’s decision by which he voluntarily suspended the FRED parent who was involved in the incident with the CYA HC, but the Committee feels that the FRED parent’s actions warrant an additional one (1) game suspension in the next season in which the team competes in the WAGSL and hereby directs that such an additional one (1) game suspension shall be imposed in the next season in which the team competes in WAGSL.
In addition, the CYA HC did not exemplify leadership and restraint in a situation that was becoming increasing volatile. In choosing to engage in a negative matter, he did not look out for the best interest of his players by providing a secure environment. Therefore, the CYA HC shall be required to serve a (1) game suspension in the next season in which the team competes in WAGSL.
The CYA Firecats and the FRED FC Frederick U14 Division 1 teams were informed that they have the right to appeal the decision of the WAGS R&D Committee according to Rule O, Protest and Appeals Procedures.
Lula E. Bauer
WAGSL R&D Committee