Pee Wee Team Tarnished With Bounty Allegations
It was just a few months ago that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell threw down the hammer against the players and coaches involved in the New Orleans Saints “Bountygate” scandal. Naïve fans were rocked by the allegations that players would be rewarded for big hits on the field, anyone who has played the game or followed it closely knew better. Aggressive play is part of the game but I must admit that I was surprised to read about an investigation opened by the national governing body for Pop Warner football.
The Investigation alleges that the Tustin (California) Junior Pee Wee Red Cobras operated a similar bounty system during the 2011 football season. Darren Crawford, the head coach of the Cobras, believes that the allegations were made falsely by some of the opposing team’s parents. It has been alleged that Crawford and his assistant coach, Richard Bowman, would offer their players cash for their aggressive play and bigger rewards for knocking out specific players. Those cash prizes were said to have increased during the playoffs, which the Cobras made quite a run through. Tustin would lose in the semifinals of the National Pee Wee Championship and finished the 2011 season with a 12-1 record.
The 10 and 11 year old players that “won the prize” would usually receive between $20 and $50, just think of the Nerf guns and DS games they could buy with that kind of cash! Their age makes these allegations callous, but it goes to show you that the type of shenanigans that took place in the Superdome of NOLA is built into football players at a very young age. There are many different angles to this story but luckily there wasn’t any children that suffered significant injuries due to such immoral play. Heads will roll in Tustin, California and the President of the Pop Warner League has been suspended, while neither coach will be allowed to participate in the program until this situation become finalized.
I know I am going to sound like an asshole, but maybe more teams should institute “bounty” style programs. Clearly it works as this team fought their way into a the Pee Wee National Tournament and the Saints won the Super Bowl. Don’t play dirty and try to injure players, but dangle a carrot in front of your team and see how willing they are to fight. It’s an effective way to see just how much you could get out of your team as a coach. The question is, how much are you willing to give up to win?