ST. CHARLES, Mo. – A youth football coach says the league his team plays in did not protect his players in a game last weekend. The coach wants things to change but a league official says the coach isn’t telling the entire story.
Kris Hanson, coach of the Jr. Christian Eagles, says Gateway Football League referees allowed kids on the opposing team, the St. Charles Boys and Girls Club, to cheap shot his players. Hanson says two of his players were diagnosed with concussions following the game.
“This wasn’t about missing holding calls. This was about personal fouls that if we were playing in the NFL, that player would be fined or gone from the game,” he said.
Tom Lansing, founder of the Gateway Football League, says he didn’t see anything untoward in video clips from the game.
“There was one play that I would have called roughing the passer,” he said.
Hanson says he told the league in a letter that his players would be targeted, adding that opposing players said they were going to hurt his son.
Hanson was kicked out of the game in the third quarter. He claims it was a miscommunication with an official as he spoke to his kids. The game official says that’s not true.
“The one official’s comment was, ‘I'll never go back. Those guys are the worst I have ever seen, worst coaching staff,’” Lansing said.
Hanson defended his coaches and says they even have a former NFL player on the staff. He says they were concerned with player safety.
Hanson stayed off the field but remained the stadium after his ejection. He says his son suffered a concussion from a late hit.
Hanson blames the Gateway Football League.
“The commissioner of the GFL and one of their refs just stood there,” Hanson said. “They did nothing.”
According to Hanson, his team was kicked out of the league because he made the matter public on Facebook.
The GFL says the team was kicked out because Hanson had a verbal argument with the commissioner, cussing at him as he left the field.
“He should have went on the field and said, ‘What I did was wrong’ and took accountability for his actions,” Lansing said.
Tim Short, the coach of the St. Charles Boys and Girls Club football team, did not respond to the allegations.
In a statement, GFL Commissioner Keith Bailey says safety is always the league’s main concern.
“We as an organization do not condone any type of actions that cause harm to any player in our organization. Our goal is to promote the positive aspects of football why trying to build respect and character in young athletes. Each club teaches USA Football Heads Up Tackling. We also believe each coach, player, and fan should conduct themselves properly and with respect to each other. This means refraining from any inappropriate language and showing any disrespect to others whether verbally or through social media.”
Coach Hanson says he did yell back at the commissioner after what happened to his son and that he wants to shine a spotlight on safety.