A group of youth athletic coaches in Savannah, Ga., came together this week to condemn the abuse of a player by a youth football coach that was caught on video earlier this month.
The coaches gathered Thursday night at the Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club to let the Savannah community know that the actions of one bad coach do not speak for them all.
"We don't believe in putting our hands on kids. We believe in making sure our kids are safe," Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club Coach Michael Hamilton said, according to Savannah Now.
Coaches from the Southwest Georgetown Youth Organization, Savannah Royal Lions Organization Westside Whippers Youth Organization, Riverboys Youth Organization, Savannah Stars Organization and the Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club attended the meeting.
"We just wanted to come together and let everyone know that we want to be a part of the solution and not the problem," Westside Whippers Coach Cleve Jones said.
The gathering was prompted by a Dec. 7 video of Savannah Gators coach Gerrel Williams punching one of his players twice during a timeout at the American Youth Football National Championship. Williams has since been charged with child abuse after the Catham County Sheriff’s Office viewed the video.
Savannah Royal Lions coach Todd Rhodes Jr. said coaches needed to learn from the situation, noting that when he was younger it was acceptable for a coach to “jack up” a player.
"We stay in a world now where on social media anything can hit and go viral," Rhodes said. "It's important that we all learn from this situation and go back to our coaches and talk about conflict resolution.
"It all starts from us, we deal with these kids from an early age. We are the seed planters and should continue to plant positive seeds into our youth for a better future.”