(WYTV) – Thursday night’s brawl was an ugly moment in the history of the NFL. But what about high school coaches and players who saw that fight? They look up to those guys. Some local coaches see it as another teaching moment.
The NFL wasted no time punishing players involved in the fight during the Browns-Steelers game. The players are facing big penalties, including one who’s benched for the rest of the season.
It happened at the end of the game when Cleveland’s Myles Garrett tackled Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and hit him in the head with it.
Other players got involved and it turned into an ugly moment in NFL history.
Garrett was suspended for the rest of the season without pay. He must meet with the commissioner before getting reinstated. Maurkice Pouncey was suspended for three games. Larry Ogunjobi got a one-game suspension.
Garrett issued an apology Friday.
Football coaches want their team to play with emotion and passion. It’s part of the game. But when things get heated, Warren Harding coaches its players not to make a situation worse.
“We have a team call, and you stop in your tracks and you take a knee,” Steve Arnold said.
That can keep things from escalating.
High school coaches want their athletes to look up to the pros, but they’re constantly teaching them life lessons to be the best person they can be.
“You hope that it falls on their ears and connects with them in some way and they carry that through with their sportsmanship,” said Boardman Coach Joe Ignazio.
On the field and off.
During the season, Harding has a program called Keep It Real Monday to reach the kids.
“Basically, we talk about life experiences, and I bring speakers in and we talk about things that have happened to them in life and it’s a teachable lesson,” Arnold said.
Both coaches said their players know actions get penalties. They can be punished by the school and the OHSAA suspends anyone who throws a punch for that game and the next game.
“Our kids know that they can’t commit things like that and if they do, they know they’re going to be held accountable,” Ignazio said. “I know coaches have their own private policies, too.”
The implication goes beyond football. All sports are competitive. Thursday night’s play will probably lead every coach to remind their team of what’s at stake.
“It’s a teachable moment for everyone, that you have to maintain your composure,” Arnold said.