'Tykes' show has some questioning the way kids taught football
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (WCIV) - Millions watched Sunday night as grown men crushed each other and there are growing fears about the impact of all the impacts. And now kids are being encouraged to crush each other.
That's what's triggering a debate over the new reality series "Friday Night Tykes."
"You have the opportunity today to rip their freaking head off, and let them bleed," says one coach of a San Antonio football team featured in Esquire Network's newest reality show.
The show features kids as young as 8 on the teams.
"Don't give me that soft crap," says one coach.
"I don't care how much pain you're in, you don't quit," says another.
Is it about teaching discipline through tough love, or is it crossing the line?
"If that kid comes across, I want you to put it in his helmet. Do you understand?" asks one coach of his players. "I don't care if you don't' get up. Let's go."
Two of the coaches now find themselves facing consequences.
According to a San Antonio news station, Charles Chavarria was suspended after cameras caught him telling players to hit the other team in the head.
"I have regrets with my actions and behaviors. I do have regrets with the shows. I've lost a lot," Chavarria said.
Another coach, Marecus Goodloe, was also suspended reportedly for encouraging profanity. He later apologized on Twitter saying, "It's been a learning experience and will definitely make me a better person and mentor moving forward."
Yet, both the CEO of the Texas Youth Football Association and a league parent are defending the program.
"I think what is not being shown is, you know, these hits in the show is not mentioning what's happening after the fact, that the coaches are pulling the kids together to correct their actions as far as to say, this is not the proper way you tackle," said the program's CEO.
"It is an intense activity and our kids are pushing themselves, but it's because they have the potential for that greatness," said one parent.
But some experts say the aggressive techniques and hard hits put kids at risk of suffering serious injuries.
"It's everything that's wrong with youth football, and to some degree it's a lot of what's wrong with television," he said.
With more episodes planned to air, the debate continues about whether these young athletes are being pushed to their fullest potential or being pushed over the limit.