Last Friday a story appeared on the front of our Sports section that has stirred up a hornets nest. As editor of this paper, I knew it would. Unfortunately in our world today, it would seem that coaches, especially winning coaches and athletic programs are treated as if they don’t have to play by the rules. When this story was brought to my attention, I assigned a reporter who I term, a bulldog, because she will do the research, get the facts and not be swayed by opinion. That is exactly what she did. It is not her fault the truth is kind of ugly. Sometimes it is.

I spent several hours yesterday defending the paper’s position on this story. It became obvious to me that some people just like to defend their ignorance. Because ANYONE who believes that the BCAA ENERGY product that we discuss in the story is a protein enhancer that can be bought at Wal Mart hasn’t been to Wal Mart. I have. I went yesterday, in fact, to specifically look for that product on the shelf. It IS NOT THERE. Yes, there are other protein products, but the article is not talking about those products. We are talking about a specific one that was given to a 15 year old student by a coach. This product has 330 mg of caffeine if used as directed. The product instructs not to take more than four servings a day which would be 440 mg of caffeine. The product also states it is for HEALTHY ADULTS OVER 18 (emphasis mine). A 15 year old is not a healthy adult over 18!

People are getting bent out of shape about everything in this article except what they should be and those fighting the hardest are making it obvious they didn’t really read the article! One woman accuses the story of bashing the coaches only and not discussing the product. The article begins by yes, talking about the coaches giving a student the product, about five paragraphs are devoted to this background the rest of the article and it is lengthy is about the product and what it does. There are those who say the research wasn’t done. Hello? Read the story it is right in front of you! It absolutely drives me crazy how fast everyone jumped on the bandwagon to criticize this paper, the reporter and unbelievably the mother of the student involved without actually reading the entire article and if they had a problem with what we said to do their own research on the product. This particular product that the mother found her son in possession of. I am confident this mother didn’t take her son to buy this product and don’t think he has a car of his own to drive elsewhere to get it, because as I stated above it is NOT sold at Wal Mart. I want to see the outrage from parents who are smart enough to realize that it is against school policy to even give a student a tylenol without parental permission and many schools have taken out products that have caffeine in them from vending machines, but it’s ok to encourage (push) a student to take a product that has something like four times the amount a kid should have a day?

I wonder, if this student had a heart attack on the field during practice or heaven forbid, a game, would these same people be as quick to defend it? Or would they be jumping on the bandwagon asking why our paper didn’t ask the very questions we are asking now? People, there is a DHS investigation ongoing, as well as a criminal investigation, where there is smoke there is fire! What will it take for this and other communities to realize, football isn’t everything in life! It is NOT ok, and never will be, for a coach, teacher, administrator to defend the use of a product that a) is not for students, b) is not discussed with parent to get permission and c) that causes or could cause serious health issues, not to mention attitude issues because, in essence the student has to choose between obeying their parent or listening to their coach.

If I discovered my child had been given this by a coach and not been given even the opportunity to grant permission, I’d be in jail for beating the crap out of that coach.

I’m also not going to spend all day and night replying to the people on “Heber News You Should Know” which frankly I don’t consider most of it “news” at all it is a place for people to rant and rave about what they refuse to research themselves. I don’t have that kind of time. As a side note the reporter who did this did extensive research, not only about this product, but about the investigations that are ongoing and she did attempt multiple times to get the school and coaches side of the story they WOULD NOT TALK TO HER. So don’t rail at me because their side isn’t told. We tried.

There will be more stories on this subject and I would hope before people read a headline and go nuts, they would read the story itself and if they question it, do the research on what we are saying don’t compare apples to oranges. Research the product that was given to the child, not some other product which wasn’t.