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High School Football Coach Suspends His Entire Team To Teach Lessons In Character

What if high school coaches coached life skills ahead of athletics?

That’s what Union High School (Roosevelt, Utah) football coach Matt Labrum did in 2013. After certain players were caught cyberbullying and skipping classes, Labrum decided to suspend all 41 players until they got their act together.

Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret Newscyber

“We felt like everything was going in a direction that we didn’t want our young men going,” said Labrum told the Deseret News. “We felt like we needed to make a stand.”

Because of the lack of character the boys showed off the field, Labrum composed a “Union Football Character” letter detailing what each player had to do if he wanted to earn his spot back.

“It’s an honor to put on your school’s jersey, and I think sometimes we lose that fact in this world of ‘me, me, me.’ We’re representing the whole school, the whole community,” Labrum told Fox News.

That’s why to get their jerseys back, the boys had to perform community service, attend a class on character development, and show up to study hall. Those with poor grades had to show marked improvement, and everyone had to also perform service for their own families.

This coach gets it. Instructing them on respect and integrity goes way beyond teaching them proper tackling technique.

Kim Constantinesco

Kim Constantinesco

As the founder and editor-in-chief of Purpose2Play.com, Kim Constantinesco dives under the surface hype to illuminate heroes in the sports world. Whether talking with the first man with cerebral palsy to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, or the first woman to mountain bike across Afghanistan, Kim has a keen interest in shining the spotlight on ordinary people doing extraordinary things. She believes it's time media starts placing a higher value on the people and communities who are actively doing something to make the world a little better. Previously, she covered the Denver Broncos and the NFL for seven seasons. Her work has been featured on NFL.com, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, The New York Times, and USA Today. She resides in Denver, CO. When not working, she can be found deep in the Rocky Mountains throwing backflips on her snowboard. Follow Kim on Twitter: @KimCon14
Kim Constantinesco

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