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Lawsuit claims benching player was equivalent to bullying

August 15, 2017 / Athletic AdministrationBaseballCoaching
A lawsuit filed by a former California high school baseball player claims that being benched by his coach was the equivalent of bullying.

Robbie Lopez and his parents are seeking at least $150,000 in the lawsuit against Lopez’s former coach, Gabriel Lopez (no relation), according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The lawsuit claims that the Los Altos High School coach refused to let Robbie Lopez play through his senior year, which amounted to “harassment and bullying.” The lawsuit also names the school district.

From the article:

“For over four (4) months and 14 games, (Robbie Lopez) has been benched and not the opportunity to show his offensive or defensive capabilities,” the suit states.

Michael Ponce, the lawyer representing Robbie Lopez and his parents, said the prolonged period of relegating him to the bench is “an abuse of the coach’s discretion.”

“It’s more of a targeted situation” than a standard case of a coach using his own judgement, Ponce said. “These are repeated actions by the coach, which we feel, my client and I, as well as his father, feel are intentional. They’re targeted against (my client) specifically.”

These types of lawsuits are not entirely uncommon. In 2016, a Florida teenager threatened a lawsuit after she failed to make the cheerleading squad. Earlier this year, a former cheerleader in South Carolina won a $100,000 judgement after successfully arguing that her coach made derogatory remarks about her body. Ponce, Robbie Lopez’s attorney, calls the California lawsuit “more egregious” than what took place in South Carolina, according to the article.

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2 thoughts on “Lawsuit claims benching player was equivalent to bullying”

  1. If it’s was the way it states on the article,and the coaches actions, then that coach does not belong coaching or teaching kids. That a child did not play at all? All season? The District needs to remove this guy immediately! But where was the AD all that year? where were the administrators all year long. Why did the kid or parents wait so long to bring this type of thing to the attention of the proper district people? There should’ve been some discussion and communication with parents on reasons why and all that stuff.

  2. There are too many details left out in the article. I am a Regional Athletic Director, and I require my coaches to play everyone in sub-varsity games. Playing time is not guaranteed for Varsity level matches. That said, not letting him play all season is not fair. If you’re not going to ever play someone, then do not carry them on the team.

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