What to Know
- Kyle Williams, coach of the youth football team the Conshohocken Golden Bears, could face a $500 fine.
- The team was up 30-0 during a game when a 5-year-old scored a touchdown, putting the team up more than 30 points and breaking a league rule.
- The coach of the losing team responded to the social media backlash, stating he believes Williams should be punished.
A possible $500 fine for the coach of a local youth football team for a blowout win that violated league rules sparked a big backlash on social media. Now the coach of the team on the losing end is speaking out on the controversy.
Jerry "Bart" Bartholomew, the president and coach of the Roxborough Eagles, faced off against Coach Kyle Williams and his Conshohocken Golden Bears Saturday in a Keystone Sports League matchup.
The Golden Bears, made up of kids no older than 7 years of age, dominated the game from the start, going up 30 to 0 with only minutes left. Under league rules, a team cannot go up by more than 30 points.
"Less than two minutes left I called a timeout because I wanted to pull the starters off the field," Williams told NBC10 Monday. "I put kids in there who normally never played."
When one of the second stringers, a 5-year-old boy, got the ball he ran toward the end zone as Williams ran along the sideline and repeatedly yelled for him to fall down. The boy still scored however, putting the team up 36 to 0.
"All day long they called that play and it was a touchdown," Bartholomew told NBC10 Thursday. "Coach obviously knew the rule because he was running down the sideline after he called a timeout with like 30 seconds left to supposedly get a kid into the game."
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Williams is now facing a possible $500 fine and a 2-game suspension.
"I have three sons," Williams said. "I'm not gonna tell my son, especially if he's running the ball, 'Don't go out there and give it your all.'"
The issue likely would have gotten little attention if not for Williams’ brother-in-law, former Philadelphia Eagle Torrey Smith. In a viral tweet, Smith criticized the punishment, calling it an example of “building weak children.”
Williams also gained overwhelming support on social media. In an NBC10 Facebook poll made up of around 8600 votes, 89% of users stated Williams should not be fined in comparison to only 11% who said he should. Some coaches and parents even offered to help Williams pay the fine.
Despite this, Bartholomew still believes Williams should be punished.
“He’s going to the court of public opinion, trying to get people to support him and sympathize with him going with, ‘Poor me. I’m getting penalized because I coach a very good team.’ No, you’re getting penalized because you went against the rules," Bartholomew said.
Bartholomew told NBC10 the mercy rule is in place to protect the young players in the league and that violating the rule could potentially make the children want to leave.
"Players don't want to come back," he said. "Parents don't want their kids to go through that."
The president of the Conshohocken Golden Bears executive board told NBC10 the board does not condone Williams' choice to run the play.
Williams is expected to appear at a league hearing in the next few weeks in which a decision could be made on whether or not he'll be fined.
Video courtesy of Vizion Event Management