Lynn/Billerica - A heated exchange between East Lynn and Billerica football coaches is being investigated by the Pop Warner Football Conference of Eastern Mass.
The conflict played out on the field during last Sunday’s game in Methuen.
Video from the stands captured the explosive exchange, which included an assistant coach from the East Lynn team giving the middle finger.
The President of East Lynn Pop Warner Football said that the assistant coach and the head coach of the 10 and under team have been suspended.
The East Lynn Pop Warner team is now gearing up for Sunday’s New England Regionals Game in Lawrence without those two coaches.
“It’s a one-sided video portraying us to be the bad guys. This is our time to set the story straight,” said Jennifer Scutellaro, mother of an East Lynn Pop Warner player.
Parents whose kids play for East Lynn Pop Warner told Boston 25 News that the video does not show how it escalated to that point.
“These coaches had to deal with an hour and a half of coaches and children being called every racist slur in the book,” explained Scutellaro. “The names and words they were called from the second they walked onto the field until they left… it’s inexcusable in 2022.”
However, East Lynn Pop Warner parents said it’s not what was said that led to the explosive exchange with just minutes left to go in the game.
“For an hour and a half, they’re asking the refs to watch the illegal hits, watch the low hits, watch the helmet to helmet,” said Marcy Ruggiero, mother of an East Lynn Pop Warner player. “This is how they injure their spines. This is how they injure their heads.”
Ruggiero said East Lynn Pop Warner coaches were growing increasingly frustrated with what they believed was dangerous tackling.
“When you see your kid on the ground after being hit three, four times illegally… this was a passionate reaction,” said Ruggiero. “They were yelling at the refs. They were yelling at the other coaches.”
East Lynn’s 10-and-under team went on to win Sunday’s game 33 to 6.
If they win this coming Sunday’s Regionals game, they’ll be headed to the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Orlando, Florida.
“We are moving forward to prepare our two teams for a chance to go to National Championships in Florida. Our main concern, at this point, is to get these kids ready for the opportunity of a lifetime,” East Lynn Pop Warner President Duke Wilson told Boston 25 News
The scholastic coordinator for the Pop Warner Football Conference of Eastern Mass declined to comment on the open investigation.
Billerica spectators have submitted more than 20 letters for the Pop Warner Football Conference of Eastern Mass. Board to review, sharing their side.
Those Billerica families accuse Lynn coaches of “inappropriate”, “offensive” and “aggressive” behavior.
Billerica Pop Warner President Franck Malandain told Boston 25 News that he would like “the facts to speak for themselves.”
Malandain said he’s refraining from making any statements until the investigation is complete.
Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.
©2022 Cox Media Group