Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Announcing the Second Ever Horse’s Patoot Salute!

On September 24 I awarded the first Horse’s Patoot Salute to two youth baseball “coaches” in Michigan City, Indiana, Scott Kaletha and Mike Schwanke. These two men (who do not deserve to be called coaches) not only allowed team members to harass a 12 year old player with anti-gay slurs, the adults participated in the name-calling. They even defended their use of anti-gay slurs as “humor and joking” and “boys will be boys.” You can read the original news story here.

I just received an email from a relative of the boy targeted by the name-calling to let me know that the coaches’ appeal of their one year suspension for their behavior was overturned by the Michigan City Park and Recreation Board. You can read about the hearing here.

Thus, my second Horse’s Patoot Salute goes to the Michigan City Park & Recreation Board for their decision to allow two bullies who call themselves coaches to continue to damage the lives of the young boys in Michigan City.

This decision is an outrage. How can a board, that is supposed to protect young people by enforcing a standard of conduct for the adults who work with young athletes, justify their cowardly and harmful support for volunteer coaches who defiantly defend their right to bully and encourage bigotry among their 12-year old team members? You got me.

If I lived in Michigan City, I’d be screaming for the heads of the Park and Recreation Board members who voted to overturn the suspensions of these two men. I actually think a one year suspension is going too easy on them. They should be banned from working with the youth of Michigan City. What would it take for the Michigan City Park and Recreation Board to take action? What kind of lesson is this for the youth of Michigan City? I suspect that a good ole boy network was protecting their own at the expense of the youth of Michigan City.

There must be other adults willing to serve as volunteer coaches who are committed to a more enlightened coaching philosophy. If I lived in Michigan City and had a son or daughter who participated in sports coached by Kaletha and Schwanke (they also coach football), I would be screaming bloody murder about the failure of the Park and Recreation Board to enforce even minimal standards of civility here. Can citizens not demand that volunteer youth sports coaches act with more maturity and judgment than we see among middle school aged bullies?

If you agree, I encourage you to contact the Recreation Director and Mayor of Michigan City to let them know :

Jeremy Kienitz
Recreation Director
voice: (219) 873-1524

Mayor Chuck Oberlie
Office of the Mayor
100 East Michigan Boulevard
Michigan City, Indiana 46360

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