October 15, 2014 • CoachingFootball

Sayreville football parent discusses details of ’hazing’ incidents

Last week, we posted news about a New Jersey high school that cancelled its entire football season over hazing allegations. Some questioned why it was necessary to go to such an extreme, but now we may know why.

NJ.com posted a story days later sourcing an anonymous parent of a Sayreville High School football player who confirmed the hazing was sexual in nature. If you're inclined to read the details, the story can be found by clicking the link.

From NJ.com:

This disturbing hazing within the storied Sayreville football program, as told to NJ Advance Media on Wednesday by the parent of a player in the program, happened almost every day in the locker room this fall, he said.

The allegations — for the first time — provide details to the events that sparked a criminal investigation by local and county police, and prompted the cancellation of the remainder of the Sayreville football season this week by Superintendent of Schools Richard Labbe.

The parent, informed by his son and other parents close to the investigation, is the first to come forward to reveal the hazing practices Labbe has characterized as “incidences of harassment, intimidation and bullying as constituted by the definition within the anti-bullying statute that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level, and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated, and in general accepted.”

Parents, and some readers, didn’t understand why the school didn’t just suspend those involved, but the story suggests the harassment was so widespread that it warranted something more severe.

As if the allegations weren’t bad enough, parents of the athletes still don’t get it. This quote illustrates that thought:

“I was at the police station with (a player) when they were questioning him,” she said. “They were talking about a butt being grabbed. That’s about it. No one was hurt. No one died. I don’t understand why they’re being punished. I think that the forfeited game was punishment enough.”

This particular parent is tone deaf to the seriousness of the situation. Let’s be clear: this is not hazing, this is sexual assault. Trying to write it off as kids being kids is completely unacceptable, and nothing like this should take place anywhere, much less a high school locker room where kids are supposed to be safe from harassment.

Hopefully, that’s a lesson everyone will learn.

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