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The Wristband. Has the punishment fit the crime?

POSTED November 13, 2010
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Torrington- The case of Southington football head coach D.J Hernandez has gotten it’s fair share of attention as the CIAC looks to decide if they agree with the one game suspension the school imposed on their 24-year old head coach.
The case revolves around Hernandez using an opposing player’s wrist band, found on the ground during the game, and what effect it had on the outcome of the game.
Southington won the game over Manchester by a 28-14 score on the road on October 22 but it took the head coach of the Manchester team calling a local newspaper to make Southington and Hernandez do anything about the event.
It’s been reported that Hernandez admitted to having the wrist band on his clipboard but only used it during one series,
Really? They must think we just dropped off the vine and have no idea how this works.
I don’t care if knowing the plays gave the water-boy slightly colder water, it’s cheating and worse yet, it sends a message to players that as long as you just break the rules a little, it’s okay.
A good friend an colleague of mine, Rick Wilson, a teacher and sportswriter, said it best when he said that if a kid gets caught cheating on a test, can he use the defense that he only used it on a couple of answers?
I don’t know Hernandez or what kind of character he brings to the table but what he did under minded what coaches and teachers of young people are trying to do.
Work hard, study, put in the time and good things will happen to you.
By keeping the wrist band, instead of giving it back to the opposing team, Hernandez showed little faith in his teams ability to get the job done themselves.
Both teams went into the Central Connecticut Conference game with identical 4-1 records.
This was the former University of Connecticut football players first big game. Did the pressure of proving himself get the best of him? Maybe, but the penalty does not fit the crime.
Especially when you consider it took the coach and school two weeks to address the issue.
If they had come out right after the game and admitted the lapse in judgment, maybe we could blame this on a young coach trying to win at all cost.
By letting it sit, and hoping it went away, the coach and school showed terrible judgment and the punishment should be more than just one game.
I’ve heard talk of a mentor or someone to watch over the actions of a coach not that far removed from the players he coaches.
Send a clear message to any school that something, that to me is as bad as it gets, will not be dealt with by a slap on the wrist.
Perhaps losing the right to play in the playoffs would do the trick or a forfeit of that game against Manchester.
Heck, the CIAC punished both North Branford and Lewis Mills harder for the biggest non-fight I have ever seen.
While I am not condoning anything either of those teams and some of the coaches did, the integrity of the game was compromised in the Southington case and the consequences should reflect that fact.


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