A high school basketball coach in Jackson, MS has been put on paid administrative leave amid allegations that he was hitting players with a weightlifting belt.
Marlon Dorsey, the first year head coach at Murrah High School allegedly took out the weightlifting belt, and applied it with force to the backsides of more than one player. This was done as a punishment for running plays incorrectly, among other things.
In a statement released through his church following the suspension, Dorsey gave his (flawed) reasoning for administering old school, corporal punishment:
"Today some of our students have lost pride in their school and in their selves. Students are disrespecting teachers, administrators and others by stealing cell phones, leaving campus without permission, dirsupting classroom teaching time, late for class and not following dress codes by wearing their pants on their butts and house shoes to school and on-court behavior. I took it upon myself to save these young men from the destruction of self and what society has accepted and has become silent to the issues our students are facing on a daily basis. I am deeply remorseful of my actions to help our students."
Well alrighty then.
Parents of the student-athletes say that they were unaware of the discipline that was being handed out. One player told his parent that he was too afraid to tell, because doing so would get him kicked off the team.
Full disclosure, I coach basketball, in the "hood" with kids who I assume are much like the ones Dorsey has to deal with. They're a tough breed, and I admittedly have engaged in some "off color" discipline, that taken out of context could wind up being fodder for the six o'clock news and blogs alike.
However, even I know, you can't "whup" kids that are not of your blood relation. Not anymore. This isn't 1964. Make them run the appropriately named "suicides". Even better, the "torture chair" (where they have to squat against a wall, arms extended, and back straight for anywhere from one to five minutes). Outright cut players who just don't show the proper behaviors.
But you aren't their daddy. You can't break out the belt, bend em over the knee, and go to work on their hide. You just... can't.
This does remind me of my old playing days, one incident in particular that I've got to share. Freshman year, a buddy of mine (who was THE class clown of all time) was getting dressed for basketball practice, and realized he'd forgotten his shorts. He went to our coach and told him the situation. The coach, a discipline guy himself, yelled at him for being irresponsible, and told him that he needed to get his "bleepity-bleep" on the court, and he didn't care what he had on.
So my buddy, being the goofball that he is, went into the locker room, put on his practice jersey, basketball shoes, and wristbands... then walked out onto the court. He was wearing no shorts, just his underwear.
"I'm ready coach!" he said.
Coach actually had him practice like that for a half an hour before they found him something to wear.