A Pop Warner assistant coach, parents and players in California say youth football players were offered payment to injure opposing players.
(Image source: The Orange County Register ) BY ADAM SMITH ANCHOR JOE CHIODO Before the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal broke, there were the Tustin Red Cobras - a California youth football team now in the spotlight for its own bounty program. Las Vegas’ KTNV has the details. “After an undefeated season in 2011, an assistant coach for the Pop Warner team now speaking out, he says other coaches on the team offered 10 and 11-year-old boys $20 cash bounties for injuring opposing views.” The Orange County Register broke the story after talking to a parent, three players and assistant coach John Zanelli. According to the Register … “ … head coach Darren Crawford and assistant coach Richard Bowman … told their team to target specific players on the youth football teams from Yorba Linda, Santa Margarita and San Bernardino. … All the other coaches and Tustin Pop Warner league officials deny a bounty program took place.” The Register reports an 11-year-old opponent suffered a concussion as a result. According to WUSA , players were actively involved in determining who had earned a payment. “A player on the team who wanted to stay anonymous said the cash rewards were discussed and that same player says teammates would vote for who should get the money and then claims that he saw the coach hand the money out. A Duke University legal expert told The Wall Street Journal if the allegations are true, there could be severe legal consequences not just for the coaches, but the Pop Warner organization. “‘If you can establish that there was a financial incentive for injury, which would otherwise be incidental to the game, then…the potential for both civil and criminal prosecutions starts to rise,’ … [adding] that Pop Warner conferences could be penalized for lack of supervision.” The team’s head coach has strongly denied the claims of a bounty program but has been suspended by Pop Warner pending an investigation.