Pop Warner Investigating Video of Violent Youth Tackle: 'We Are Deeply Disturbed'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 12, 2021

A stack of footballs are seen on the field before the start of an NFL football game between the St. Louis Rams and the Washington Redskins Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
AP Photo/Seth Perlman

Pop Warner is investigating a disturbing video of a football practice that featured two young children competing in a tackling and ball-carrying drill.

The video shows the ball-carrier lowering his helmet into the defender's as he runs through the attempt, which flings the defender to the ground. Someone can be heard in the background saying, "you're good."

"We are deeply disturbed by this video and are investigating," Pop Warner spokesperson Brian Heffron told Ryan Gaydos of Fox News. "If, in fact, it was Pop Warner coaches leading these drills, we will take action."

Heffron continued, saying the video goes against what the organization teaches:

"What we saw was dangerous and, frankly, offensive to the overwhelming majority of our coaches who teach the sport the right way. We expect every coach to adhere to mandated training and focus on the proper, safe progressions of tackling techniques, including practice against dummies, particularly at such a young age. Over the past 10 years Pop Warner has instituted a number of player safety rules, and this example runs counter to our practices."

A USA Football spokesperson also condemned the video.

The video led to plenty of criticism, some of which came from former NFL players who took issue with coaches having children run that drill.

Tom Schad of USA Today reported the incident happened in September, and the head coach of the team was removed after the Wesley Chapel Weddington Athletic Association in North Carolina commissioned an investigation.

"This drill occurred back in September 2020 on a team with a first-year coach in the program," attorney Christopher Duggan wrote in a statement. "This was addressed immediately with the coach when it happened as this was deemed not an acceptable drill for this age group or the experience level of these players. Subsequent to the coach being removed from his position, there were no other incidents or issues with this team during the remainder of the season."