Pee Wee Football Coach Accused of Paying Players to Injure Opponents
Kids wanting to be just like their athletic heroes is nothing new, but a Pop Warner football coach emulating the New Orleans Saints’ “Bountygate” program, where players were paid extra to injure members of the other team? That’s a twist. A very upsetting twist, if you ask the parents of the 10- and 11-year-olds who got the short end of this deal.
Reports made earlier last week allege that Darren Crawford, head coach of the Tustin Pee Wee Red Cobras, offered his players cash bonuses up to $50 for the “hit of the game,” sometimes awarding even more if the opposing team’s best player was hit so hard he had to leave the game.
Players reportedly told the local news media that the winner of these cash bonuses was determined through a voting process after each game, with players whose hits ended up giving opponents mild concussions typically walking away with the money.
Crawford disputes the allegations, claiming they are the malicious product of ticked-off parents forcing their kids to lie. Yet, former players say that during a film session with the team last year, Crawford told them that the player responsible for incapacitating the other team’s best player would earn the most money.
Red Cobra officials have suspended Crawford pending a full investigation by Pop Warner into these accusations, as well as others stating that he illegally altered player’s uniforms to assist them in making weight requirements.