A youth football team’s year-end party sparked an uproar within the Connecticut town of New Canaan after the coaches allegedly burned the players’ third-place trophies, The New Canaan Advertiser reported.
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According to The Advertiser, the incident took place as the New Canaan Youth Football eighth-grade Black team was celebrating the end of their season after they were eliminated in the semifinal round of the division championships. During the party, the coaches took the children to a park and encouraged them to throw their participation trophies into a pile. The coaches allegedly used gasoline to then light them on fire.
At least one of the coaches yelled an obscenity as the trophies burned, a player and his parent told the newspaper.
The coaches — identified by the paper as Rod Fox, Jay Pirrone and David Jahns — have since resigned from the youth league’s board. They have also been suspended from any further involvement with the program or its teams.
Police investigated last month’s incident after receiving an anonymous complaint on Nov. 30.
In a statement released this week, Fox said he takes "full responsibility" for the incident.
"Our point was to flush away the disappointment of the team’s last game and move on and not dwell on it any further," Fox said in the statement, which was reported by The Advertiser. "It was bad judgment. We apologized to the players and the parents and made sure that the message was clear for everyone. This was an exceptional group of kids who were very successful. It is unfortunate that this event is clouding the great accomplishments of these young men."
In an email sent to the players, the coaches compared burning the trophies to a college and high school football tradition, in which a team will burn a shoe after a major loss.