High school football coach suspends entire team

The entire Union High School football team was suspended on Saturday. (Source: KTSU/CNN)
The entire Union High School football team was suspended on Saturday. (Source: KTSU/CNN)

ROOSEVELT, UT (RNN) - A Utah football coach who suspended his entire team after last Friday's game has received national attention and praise.

On Saturday, Coach Matt Labrum and his staff gave letters to the entire Union High football team and told them that none of them would be able to wear their jersey again until they earned the privilege to do so, according to the Deseret News.

The entire team lost their chance to play ball due to a variety of problems that included poor grades, skipping classes, cyber bullying and what coaches called "lack of character."

In the letter, the coaches not only told the youngsters that they would be suspended from the team, but reminded them that it is a privilege to play football, and that they were "not pleased with how our football brothers are representing our family, school, community, alumni, family and yourselves."

The letter also described the steps each student must take to get their jerseys back, which included doing service projects, attending all practices and memorizing a quote on good character.

Coach Matt Labrum says he didn't do it a punishment.

"We felt like it was an opportunity for us to grow and learn about how we can impact other people," Labrum said.

Some of the team members agree that they deserved the punishment.

"I wasn't part of the disrespect but I saw it go on just as much as everybody else," Zach Roll, team captain, told KSTU. "And I'm just as much as fault for not making it stop."

By Wednesday, 32 of the 41 team members had been reinstated to the team. They have enough players to field both junior varsity and varsity teams to play in this week's games.

In an interview with the Deseret News, Labrum said that he told his students, "We have an opportunity to be an inspiration to an entire nation by doing the right things, by following through — and not just this week. We need to continue to do the right things."

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