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What the..? (there's just no words....)
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Agamemnon



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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Location: Studying somewhere. Or at least that's where I should be.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:06 pm    Post subject: What the..? (there's just no words....) Reply with quote

T-ball coach to stand trial for $25 offer to bean player
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- A T-ball coach accused of offering an 8-year-old boy $25 to bean a disabled teammate is unlikely to receive a fair trial because of intense media coverage, the man's lawyer said.

Mark R. Downs Jr., 29, of Dunbar, was scheduled to go on trial Tuesday in Fayette County on a string of charges, including solicitation, corruption of minors and reckless endangerment. He refused a plea agreement in December.

The charges against Downs drew the attention of media outlets around the world. Many columnists expressed disgust at what they considered adult corruption of a child's sport.

"We feel he's been persecuted by the media," defense attorney Thomas Shaffer said. "[The case] was on from the nightly news in Japan to every syndicated network broadcast across the country."

Prosecutors have argued that Downs did not want Harry Bowers Jr., then 9, to play in a June 2005 T-ball playoff game because the boy wasn't as good as his teammates. Bowers has autism and mild mental retardation.

Keith Reese, 8 at the time, testified at a preliminary hearing that he hit Bowers with baseballs first in the groin and later in the ear. Reese said he did it because Downs offered him $25 to make sure Bowers wouldn't be able to play.

League rules require each player to play at least three innings.

Prosecutors did not return several phone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment on the start of the trial.

Shaffer said Downs had joked at another game about paying players to hit an umpire with a ball. His words were later taken out of context and used against him by Reese, Shaffer said.

Bowers was hit because he misplayed balls while warming up with Reese, Shaffer said.

"[Bowers] was terrible. ... It's not like he got blinded-sided," Shaffer said. "He put his glove up, he missed it and it went off his glove and hit him."

The Falcons, the team Downs coached, are part of the R.W. Clark Youth Baseball League. Bowers was hurt before a game in North Union Township, about 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

League officials have said they investigated the matter and could not confirm whether Downs had done anything wrong. But they said he wouldn't be allowed to coach again if he were convicted of criminal charges.

"He didn't ask to return, which was a good thing," said Eric Forsythe, president of the league. "I'm just curious to see what comes out in trial."
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Darqcyde



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

see: Kicking and Screaming

I've heard from more than a few parents that the reason they don't let their kid play this or that sport is because of the coaches. The fact that the child being victimized was also autistic only makes that coaches actions that much more despicable, though sadly cliche in a way too.
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Bart



Joined: 22 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's something I can't stand either. Coaches that think winning is important at that age.

I coach some really young kids myself ( 6 to 8 years ) and you sometimes meet those coaches that hardly let their "weaker" players play.

This one goes a whole lot further though, encouraging one kid to injure another so the bastard can win games ?
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mouse



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, but there are parents like that too.

i swim after work with some friends. one day there was a man with two young children - the younger was maybe 7 or 8. he was swimming, with his father on the deck coaching him. the kid was a bit away from the wall - apparently he had stopped mid-lap and was kinda fooling around, a kind of "hey dad, look at this!" sort of thing. and his father started yelling at him, going on about "what if you did that at a meet? you would let all your teammates down!" and on and on.

one of my swimming buddies was going to "accidentally" push the father in the pool, but we chickened out.

anyway, parents like that make coaches like this.
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Dinosaursareback!



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not suprised that someone would do this, people seem to have a strange fascination with sports...
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CTrees



Joined: 21 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

See, this thread so far actually entirely supports his lawyers' claims that he is being prejudged. We've only seen what the media has reported, and we don't actually know if there is evidence of wrongdoing. There've been case with kids saying the most damaging things before. It could've been an accident, the kid could've thrown the balls of his own volition and then blaimed the coach to take the heat off himself, or it could've gone down exactly as the prosecutors are claiming. We don't know, and have no proof one way or the other, but read the responses, and everyone is just naturally assuming that the coach is in the wrong, and jumping on how horrible the guy is.

If this were misdoing on the part of the Bush admin, there's at least a portion of people that'd want evidence of some form before passing judgement, but here, things are different. Odd.
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Dennis J. Squidbunny



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even if, as they say, he 'joked' about it before hand I still think that makes him negligent. You're right, sometimes kids can fly off the handle and in this current climate they will always be believed - which I think is a good thing, but at the same time it can backfire in your face like here.

On the other hand, if it's true, HE HIRED A NINE YEAR OLD BOY TO ASSAULT AN AUTISTIC KID JESUS CHRIST. Of course people are up in fucking arms. Didn't even have the guts to bean the autistic kid himself.

Is there some sort of time limit on comparing things to Bush? Sort of like Goodwins Law?
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Dro



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CTrees, I think people are passing judgment on the notion involved, not the specific person, and if they were actually passing a legal judgment I think most here would realize the greater responsibility.
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rm



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the coach has been found guilty.
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AfyonBlade



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only reason this made national new was because the kid was autistic. The story makes no mention of how severe his autism is, so people automatically click their brans to "Rain Man," which, if this kid is playing baseball, is a pretty bad reference. The focus should be that the coach wanted to pay one kid to harm antoher kid. It shouldn't be a big deal that the harmee is autistic. Just because someone is autistic doesn't mean they're some pathetic little thing that need to be protected at all times. If he was, he wouldn't be playing baseball with other children.
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E-boy



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish I could say this was suprising to me. However, when my kids were in baseball I saw many a coach and many a parent who seemed to have completely lost touch with the point of youth sports. One Dad threw a bat at the umpire and very nearly hit several of the children. I very nearly became part of the problem that day as I don't handle that kind risk to kids well, and I wanted to jump on that guy. Fortunately, several more level headed people beat me to the punch so to speak.
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Bart



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AfyonBlade wrote:
The only reason this made national new was because the kid was autistic. The story makes no mention of how severe his autism is, so people automatically click their brans to "Rain Man," which, if this kid is playing baseball, is a pretty bad reference. The focus should be that the coach wanted to pay one kid to harm antoher kid. It shouldn't be a big deal that the harmee is autistic. Just because someone is autistic doesn't mean they're some pathetic little thing that need to be protected at all times. If he was, he wouldn't be playing baseball with other children.


Why would the fact that the kid was authistic be the only reason why this made it to national media. I'd think that a coach paying a kid to harm any other kid would have been just as shocking. The boy wasn't harmed because he was authistic, just because he was bad at baseball.
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rm



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you have to remember that if the kid was "normal" and just a bad player the coach might have made some attempt to convince him not to play of his own accord. this happens a lot, actually. "you're really not cut out for this sport, son. try golf." not the best attitude either, but it's not paying kids to bean each other in the head. I think his autism (which was called "mild") made the coach afraid to bring the issue up at all. he sought a covert method to eliminate what he saw as a problem he couldn't face directly. that's why it is pertinent to the story. basically the coach is a coward as well as an gaping asshole.
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AfyonBlade



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think his autism (which was called "mild") made the coach afraid to bring the issue up at all.


If he was just another 'normal' kid, the coach might have asked him to just sit out, or not played him, or something. But, see, if he had done that with an autistic kid, people would have been all 'You don't want him to play because he's autistic, give him a chance, etc.' I'm not saying that's a bad thing; it SHOULD be said. I'm just saying that people would have been more up in arms over his autism than the fact that the coach was a bad one and didn't want the kid to play. He went about solving the problem poorly, and if it had happened to a 'normal' kid who sucked at baseball, it would have made the local newspaper, maybe an underscroll on NBC or something.
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rm



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

so now we're in agreement.
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