24 Football Players Suspended For The Season For Backing Teammate

October 31, 2011 / Football
CourierPostOnline.com, Kevin Minnick

Call it Occupy Overbrook.

AdTech AdOnly in this case, 24 high school football players suffered the ultimate of consequences for what they believed to be a peaceful protest in their locker room in support of a former teammate.

When those two dozen players — most starters — were suspended Thursday for the rest of the season, none saw it coming. Second-year coach Wade Inge said he talked about making the right decisions and “they did not.” Athletic director Gary McGaurn said it was a “disciplinary situation.”

But those student-athletes feel they were wronged. They firmly believe they were doing what they had been told to do despite knowing they would probably come under scrutiny. They’re in agreement that their teammate was in the wrong, openly criticizing the coaching staff with inappropriate language, but still wanted him back.

As a result of the suspensions, Overbrook was forced to forfeit Friday’s game against No. 7 Haddonfield. Inge said there was simply not enough time to get enough kids prepared.

“Our coach told us at the beginning of the season to look out for everyone,” senior Devon Dreddon said. “We’re a family now, these were our new brothers. We stuck up for a brother and got punished for it. We stood up for what we believed in.

“I was devastated. I didn’t know we’d suffer that bad over something so little.”

“I was shocked, devastated. It’s just disappointing how it had to end for the seniors,” senior Ray Cross said. “We knew we’d face some type of consequences but not to this extent. We’d understand a suspension for a game or two, but the rest of the season wasn’t necessary. They took it to a whole other level.”

A series of events took place that led the players to believe they had cleared the air with Inge. They were prepared to return to practice the next day only to find out after an afternoon meeting — which included Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Koczur, Principal Paul Harmelin, McGaurn, Inge and the coaching staff — their season was over.

According to Phillip Madosky, and confirmed by Cross, Devon Dreddon and DeAndre Dreddon — all senior starters — the players were unified in not attending Wednesday practice and planned to hold a sit in. While in the locker room, Inge told them they had 10 minutes to dress and come to a separate locker room area or put their equipment in a bucket and no longer be a part of the team.

“Everyone got their gear on and we all sat down,” Madosky said. “Coach Inge and an assistant talked. Then the players spoke up as to why (the former teammate) should be back. We thought everything was fine. We got done, got dressed and left after about an hour and 40 minutes.

“We thought we had cleared the air. Everyone thought everything was OK. After they lectured us, talked with us, said everything was fine, the next day we got kicked off. It came completely out of nowhere. No one expected it. When we got kicked off, we all stood up. It was like ‘What?’ They said we disrespected the coach and our season was over.”

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