When an adult encourages or orders a child to harm another child or if the adult rewards the attacker for doing so, then the adult should be prosecuted as if he committed the crime himself, especially if the adult is an authority figure to the attacker. I don't know if this is written into law anywhere in America, but after reading about allegations that Head Coach Darren Crawford, former Assistant Coach Richard Bowman, and Tustin President Pat Galentine were involved in paying their players cash bounties for intentionally injuring opposing players, it obviously should be. No one has proven anything yet and the allegations are still being investigated. The reason these adults probably feel as if they've already been found guilty is simple. Given the character and record of the Institution of Football, this story is as believable as cold weather in Canada. In fact, it all sounds familiar to me...
This story immediately triggered memories of another scandal involving very young players during a Pop Warner game at Stagg High School on September 2, 2006. On that day assistant coach Cory Petero tackled 13-year-old Brian Wood after witnessing Wood violently attack his son for the third time in one game. The euphemism for "violent attack" in football is "late hit" but the intent is to cause excruciating physical pain and injury, and to intimidate the victim. There were no allegations of cash bounties at the time and none now. Instead, intentionally injuring opposing players should be looked upon as the normal course of behavior for the sort of characters most attracted to violent, competitive athletics.
Football is not a game. It never was. Football is a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry that looks upon badly injured players as just so much collateral damage, just an unfortunate side effect of doing business. It prioritizes the physical safety of players, including children, only when the monetary cost of insurance and law suits imposes a unifying motive upon the entire industry. And only the most naive parents allow their children to participate based upon the empty rhetoric of sportsmanship, character-building, and personal development. Your child is little more than raw material.
When children are signed up for competitive athletics, they enter a machine that turns out a product of enormous economic value to its owners: professional entertainers. The operation of this machine resembles that of a mining operation where a colossal amount of material is blasted and dug out of the ground in order to produce a proportionately tiny amount of finished product. Both operations leave enormous piles of tailings in their wake and both have a long history of being messy, dangerous to participants, and corrupt.
In football the filtering and disposal of less promising candidates follows a time-tested and widely accepted routine. The first few seasons appear to be conducted as promised; athletics is treated as a game where ideals like fun, fairness, and sportsmanship are openly promoted. This helps to maintain a pleasant illusion for the benefit of recruiting new players. When the players reach the age of 12 or 13, not coincidentally when they’re just bumping into the front edge of puberty, the situation changes considerably. There is little emphasis on having fun and increasing pressure to win regardless of the consequences. Anyone who finds this situation uncomfortable or for any other reason simply falls out of favor is urged to find something else to do. If such an individual does not choose to leave on his own, various methods of encouragement are imposed upon him, one of the most physically dangerous of which was demonstrated by 13-year-old Brian Wood and recorded on videotape during the game in question.
When a play ends, each individual tends to relax and return to his side of the line. This is when a player is most vulnerable to physical injury and Brian Wood obviously knew it. The “late hit” that was witnessed by what is certainly by now an audience of millions was an intentional act intended to cause a great deal of physical pain to the victim and to intimidate him.
Leave now or this will happen again, and again, and again.
The fact that the victim could have been badly injured, crippled, or killed obviously means nothing to Brian Wood, his adult role models, or to the entertainment industry as a whole. If his parents raised him to be a bully, he may have committed the act on his own accord just to acquire a sense of power, or he may have done it after learning that his victim had fallen out of favor with the coaches or the other players. Whatever the motive, it was not an accident. Brian Wood is a fairly typical sociopath of the gridiron and the American public loves him for it.
Domestic terrorists who have yet to become as infamous as Timothy McVeigh, Cho Seung-Hui, and James Holmes can sleep soundly knowing that millions of Americans place more value on the outcome of a Pop Warner football game than they do on the lives and safety of their neighbor's children.