A Michigan man who burned a letter jacket after a high school football game ended up getting his son’s coach suspended.
The parent of a Macomb County Dakota High School football player set his own letter jacket on fire after his son’s team beat Chippewa Valley, the dad’s own alma mater where he played and was captain of the team in the late 1980s.
The father, who asked not to be named, said he did it to show support for his son’s team but admitted he set a bad example.
After the Nov. 1 game, when the team had returned to the school, the dad put his Chippewa Valley varsity jacket on the ground and set it on fire.
He wrote in a letter to the coach and team, "I got caught up in my excitement and through this would be funny or motivating to the players. Shame on me."
Superintendent Ron Roberts told 7 Action News the coach was suspended for one game because he did not keep the students safe.
"All that needed to happen that night is move the kids away from that fire and call 911. The coat was burned with an accelerant. Students were encouraged to stand around by this person - the person burning the coat," Roberts said.
The dad was initially suspended from all school events, although school officials said they would make an exception for graduation.
The dad’s letter to the coach follows:
Dear Mr. Demorest, I am writing to apologize for my actions last night that were solely my own. As a parent I got excited and regret that I got caught up in my own passion and made a mistake by burning my varsity jacket. I set a bad example and I apologize.
The property that was destroyed was my personal Chippewa Valley Varsity jacket from 1989, and no one else’s. As an alumni of Chippewa Valley and a parent at Dakota, I feel deeply about both schools and regret my inappropriate behavior.
No coach or player in either school had any knowledge that this was going to happen. This was not something that I planned to do. I got caught up in my excitement and thought this would be funny or motivating to the players. Shame on me. I now realize my poor judgement and deeply regret my actions. No one else was involved in the planning or executing of this.
I realize I set a poor example for both teams and those watching. I didn’t realize that this was being videotaped and would spread like it has. I take full responsibility.
In closing, I ask that any penalty for my actions rest solely upon my shoulders. Whether that be a fine, a ban from future games, community service towards the schools, a public apology or another consequence I am willing to accept that. I am happy to serve my penance in the interest of good sportsmanship. Please make me take responsibility for it and not affect the coaches or players, as this was single handedly my own actions and I am prepared to accept any consequence you deem necessary.