I remember my days in elementary school in PE class where there were a couple of coaches that got away with aggressive behavior that would never be tolerated today. Intermittent abusive language, favoritism (mostly girls, go figure) and insults went mostly unreported and were reluctantly accepted. I wasn’t very athletic, was tall for my age and not very graceful, so I experienced my share of this treatment…even in Boy Scouts.
My, how times have changed.
I always thought as a child that this kind of behavior was just wrong and now it’s yet another area where background checks are revealing shocking information about some individuals who are allowed to coach. I remember seeing a commercial back in the 1980′s for an instructional video Michigan Wolverines coach Bo Schembechler where he made this statement for coaches using the video:
“This is little league football, and it’s played for fun.”
That ideal is apparently still lost on some little league coaches…most recently in Lafayette, IN, where a 6-year-old girl (Leah Mitchell) wrote a letter of apology to her coach after an altercation between her father, the coach and the coach’s fiancee’. The girl was afraid she had started the argument.
Leah’s father approached his daughter’s coach during a Greater Lafayette Regional Soccer association practice last week to ask about his daughter’s playing time. At that point, the coach’s fiancee’, Jeremiah Adriano, approached Leah’s father yelling and trying to provoke the man to “Hit me! Hit me!” numerous times.
Where it gets interesting is that Adriano himself is a coach. A coach with a criminal history of battery. I ask simply…how the hell does this happen?
Leah’s mother, Erica Berry, expressed obvious shock at this revelation as all parents should. The fact that someone with such a criminal history is allowed to work with children as a coach is inexcusable, but it just goes to show how far we have to go with background check implementation on local levels. the coach publicly berated her during their little league soccer game. Leah said she was only kicking the ball out of bounds.
GLRSA President Rodney Tucker offered the excuse that if they (GLRSA) “remotely thought kids were in danger with Adriano coaching, he wouldn’t be coaching. That is a guarantee.” He went onto say that Adriano is not listed on the Indiana Sexual Offender Registry. Yet Lafayette, IN News 18 had received two complaints about Adriano’s behavior at games and practices, which means the GLRSA had to have been aware of a potential problem.
Did they just sweep the problem under the rug and hope it would go away? Given Tucker’s deflective defense (and the fact that the only punishment issued was against Leah’s father), it sure seems like a possibility. Child safety in these situations isn’t just about protecting them from sexual predators. They must be protected from those with violent histories, as well.