I read, with great concern, the article “Bellevue football trainer accused of intimidating player” [Local News, June 13].
I’ve been training athletes for more than 30 years. It is more obvious than ever that far too many “professionals” fail to address the larger needs of our student-athletes, addressing only their bodies and doing so with a lack of maturity and authentic, deep-seated care.
The facts in this story may remain in dispute, but the underlying issues do not. The adults in the equation are not skilled enough to teach and mentor in an empowering way. Their approach is not only unrefined but also leaves much to be desired in terms of modeling the sort of behavior most of us want from our peers, neighbors and, most important, our children. Sadly, this article reflects what we have tolerated and allowed to trickle down from professional to collegiate to prep sports. Personally, I’ve stood up for this for more than a decade, predicting what has now come to fruition. With the exception of only a few, I’ve stood there alone.
Athletic directors overlook the best interest of their charges. Coaches lack sufficient training and proper vetting in the hiring process. Booster programs have ineffective oversight — when there is any at all. And, many parents get sucked into what can only be called a dysfunctional athletic culture.
But the kids know. In their hearts, they know it’s not “right.” So what do we do? We look the other way. Instead, I suggest we work harder to serve them properly, look out for their larger interests and buffer them from those who exploit them for their own selfish gain. It’s long overdue.
Gordon Kaplan, Bellevue