Youth-Sports Organizations Speak Out Against 'Friday Night Tykes'
The new TV show "Friday Night Tykes" isn't drawing high praise from a number of youth-sports organizations, to say the least.
On Wednesday, the National Athletic Trainers' Alliance released an official statement about the program, which leads off with this:
"Football is one of the nation's most popular sports and a rite of passage for millions of young players, helping them grow physically, socially, and mentally. As the founder of the Youth Sports Safety Alliance, the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) is concerned and disappointed that the Esquire Network is providing a platform for the blatant disregard for player safety displayed in its new program "Friday Night Tykes.' "
Earlier this month, before the show even debuted, USA Football, the youth-football partner of the National Football League, also released a statement. It began:
"Commenting on a television program before it airs is not common practice for USA Football, however, we believe that the language and scenes in this show's previews are in sharp contrast to the overwhelming majority of the youth football community."
The organization wasn't done there. On the night of the show's debut (Jan. 14), USA Football executive director Scott Hallenbeck released his own statement.
"Youth coaches by nature are role models, and the language and scenes in Esquire Network's 'Friday Night Tykes' are in sharp contrast to USA Football's core beliefs and what is taking place on the majority of youth football fields across the country. Football and youth sports in general provide meaningful learning opportunities, and it is vitally important that the right individuals have the training necessary to teach our children these lessons."
Are you morbidly curious about what's drawing such criticism? You're in luck. The entire first episode of the show—which starts with a coach telling his players, "You have the opportunity today to rip their freaking head off and let them bleed"—is embedded below (via the Esquire Network's YouTube channel):
Youth-sports organizations aren't the only ones condemning the show. Both TIME and ESPN.com have published damning reviews about the first few episodes of "Friday Night Tykes," with the latter especially concerned about certain coaches' treatment of potential head injuries. (One coach openly encourages his players to lead with their head while tackling, which is the exact opposite of what any concussion expert or healthcare professional would recommend.)
If nothing else, at least certain aspects of the show can be used as a learning experience for what not to do while coaching youth sports.
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