12-Year-Old Takes On Football Coach for Right to Support Breast Cancer Awareness

football gameKids have a lot of rules. When to wake up, when to leave for school, when to do homework, the list goes on and on and on. Well, there was one rule a 12-year-old New Jersey boy refused to follow and he should be applauded for it.

Julian Connerton wanted to wear pink gloves during a football game to show support for his mom, a breast cancer survivor. He quit the team after the coach demanded he take them off. Though, before you demand Coach Paul Burgan's head on a stick, it now seems there was a misunderstanding. He says he forgot why the young man wanted to sport them. Connerton is now back on the team. I would say, all's well that ends well. Yet, I still can't help but feel this teen shouldn't have even gone through this mess in the first place.

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His act of defiance was actually out of love for his mother, who had recently undergone a double mastectomy. This should be a lesson to us all -- teachers, coaches, and parents alike. Immediately, his act was viewed as some sort of insubordination. It's as though as soon as young people appear to break the slightest rule, they get blasted. Shouldn't we just take a beat and give them the benefit of the doubt before we chastise them? This whole mess could have been avoided if only the coach had taken a second to ask Connerton why he had the gloves on.

I understand that it was game day and the pressure is on. The locker room was probably a flurry of testosterone-packed excitement. However, this is not the NFL. These are children. People who work with youth have to exercise more patience and understanding, don't you think? This kid was just trying to support his mom and others impacted by breast cancer. Extraordinary young man to stand up for what he believes in. He was willing to give up a game I'm sure he loves playing.

So many people were moved by Connerton's actions that the team's Facebook page was bombarded with messages. It seems his peers and their parents were inspired by this young man. I suppose the upside is that he was wearing the gloves to bring breast cancer awareness and this whole debacle has done just that.

What do you think of Julian Connerton's actions?



Image via Roxbury Latin/Flickr

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