DURHAM, Conn. (WTNH) — The story about the youth football coach fired after disciplining a player for allegedly bullying a teammate is now getting attention across the country. The Durham Middlefield Football coach is getting an outpouring of support from the community as well. Regional School District 13 is now being wrongly blamed for his firing.
Todd Kennedy says several people have reached out to him to show their support since News 8’s story aired on Wednesday. As we reported, Kennedy said he disciplined a boy on his team last week by making him run laps around the field. He then praised the boy for running without complaining. The football league’s board fired him for how he handled it.
“The outpouring of support has been overwhelming,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy says he feels vindicated, since he’s gotten support from people all across the country. He was fired from his volunteer head coach position earlier this week. He says he’d never been trained on how to handle bullying as a coach, and he did the best he could – as a coach and as a father.
“I was teaching those kids how to be men and how I was taught, how to be a man,” said Kennedy.
The alleged bullying happened at school. The team is part of league and is separate from the school district. Kennedy believes the league board should have given him a warning instead of firing him.
“They just made a bad decision,” said Kennedy. “They’re all good people. They all thought they were making the right decision for the children in their organization.”
Two of Kennedy’s own sons were on the football team, but they no longer play. He wishes he could’ve said goodbye to his team, and that he could’ve coached them through the rest of the season.
“I don’t think I’m going to be asked to come back. I mean, would I like to? Absolutely. I mean, if they offered I would,” said Kennedy.
Although the Regional School District 13 administration had nothing to do with Kennedy’s firing, it has gotten some backlash from people across the country. People have said they wouldn’t send their children to district schools and that they would want to sue the district if they could.
Kennedy has tried to get his sons on another football team, but he’s been told it’s too late in the season for them to join another one. News 8 has been reaching out the league’s board members for several days but we have not heard back from them.