FanDuel - WFBC

October 12, 2006

Coach Offers Kid Money to Bean Autistic Player: A youth baseball coach accused of offering an 8-year-old money to bean an autistic teammate so he couldn't play was sentenced Thursday to one to six years in prison.

posted by Joey Michaels to baseball at 08:42 PM - 43 comments

Youth sports at its lowest..... The only time you are supposed to let every kid play regardless of ability, and coaches are still trying to find a way to simply win.... Absolutely horrendous if you ask me

posted by zachaweenus at 09:03 PM on October 12

Immagine him explaining THIS to the prison population...

posted by wolfdad at 09:25 PM on October 12

Its another example of the "Al Bundy" syndrome. I mean, move on with your life buddy. So you never made the varsity baseball team in high school, boo-hoo. People like this should be castrated. I hope someone in the jail he goes to finds out what he did and f*cks his a^* up. Literally. From what I hear, most prisoners don't take kindly to people who hurt women and children.

posted by LA-4-Life at 09:25 PM on October 12

LA-4-Life.... What you are saying , is that the coach should be seriously hurt or killed? What he did was wrong, but that in itself doesn't warrant being maimed or killed. And yes they do KILL in prison!We as humans should not condone harming a child, especially autistic children. But we also should not be Judge, Jury, and Executioner!

posted by nflhou02 at 10:33 PM on October 12

An ass kicking is definitely in order. If either kid was my son, he damn sure woulda got one, too.

posted by mjkredliner at 10:36 PM on October 12

We've spoken about something like this before.

posted by Samsonov14 at 10:40 PM on October 12

Aw Frak, samsonov. I search Spo-Fi for "bean" and "autistic" and didn't see anything. Damn damn damn. Must practice better search skills and better, well, paying attention skills. While this is a follow up to that story, it still is a duplicate and I welcome the coming deletion. Sorry all.

posted by Joey Michaels at 12:15 AM on October 13

JM, thanks for this ... I've been waiting to hear the verdict ... I find that what happens too often is that after flashpoint stories hit the news (as happened with the original post), the aftermath is often not deemed noteworthy enough to get more than a by-line that is easily missed.

posted by Spitztengle at 12:38 AM on October 13

No worries, JM. I wasn't trying to be a dick about it. I'm glad to hear that Coach Angry is no longer coaching. For the record, every time I search for "bean" and "autistic" all the results have something to do with some British comedian.

posted by Samsonov14 at 02:53 AM on October 13

...all the results have something to do with some British comedian Samsonov14: I think that ur talking about Rowan Atkinson aka Mr. Bean. If it's true what this 'Coach' did, I find that to be rather frightening. To have a guy that's supposed to be teaching kids the game of baseball but instead is showing them how to be bad teammates. Keep this guy away from these kids and put him where he belongs...in prison.

posted by BornIcon at 07:44 AM on October 13

I added a link to one of the original stories on the case, which includes a photo of Coach Psycho and explains the allegation in detail. He actually told the kid to bean the boy twice -- saying to "hit him harder" after the first one hit his groin. When you get involved in youth sports, you have to watch out for these Great Santini, win-at-all-costs parents. The most disturbing part is what these folks must be like with their kids when other people aren't around.

posted by rcade at 08:52 AM on October 13

mjkredliner, He'll get his ass kicked bigtime once he is in prison

posted by tortugagrande at 09:00 AM on October 13

My thoughts too TortugaGrande. Ole' Bubba Mustafa is warming up his bunk to punk this fool bigtime.....Ouch! LOL

posted by mikemora at 09:14 AM on October 13

Coaches such as this (and stories such as this) give youth sports a black-eye and continue to destroy the purpose of leagues for very young kids. There needs to be tighter reigns on youth coaches, because often (not necessarily this situation) these individuals exibit questionable behavior prior to the major events like this one. Various leagues need to be a bit quicker to replace coaches whose overall demeanor and attitude don't coincide with what the particular league's missions are supposed to be about. If this clown has such a overwhelming need to be a big winner with a bunch of 9-year olds, I'm sure he showed some signs of having issues prior to having several balls thrown at a kid with disabilities.

posted by dyams at 09:14 AM on October 13

He'll get his ass kicked bigtime once he is in prison ... For all people engaging in prison revenge fantasies: He's probably going to serve the time in some minimum security prison and be out on probation after a year. They acquitted him of the most serious charge.

posted by rcade at 09:33 AM on October 13

Sure, get all haughty now, former dungeon master.

posted by yerfatma at 09:59 AM on October 13

It's a shame that this guy isn't doing 'real' prison time. rcade is right, he'll probably do time in some 'upscale resort' and the hardest thing he'll deal with is trying to figure out if he wants to plant some rosemary in his garden. What a country we live in.

posted by BornIcon at 09:59 AM on October 13

He's probably going to serve the time in some minimum security prison and be out on probation after a year. Do they have conjugal visits?

posted by tron7 at 10:04 AM on October 13

Conjugal with his rosemary garden? I think he has to wait until they grow first. Something with the roots I gather.

posted by BornIcon at 10:27 AM on October 13

Downs didn't speak at the sentencing but told reporters "I didn't do nothing" as he was led out of the courtroom. This is the most telling statement of all! This guy hasn't learned a thing since the incident was originally reported. Before he is let out of jail, he needs to explain to the parole board, or whatever agency has charge of him, exactly what he did, what he was thinking, and why he will never even think of doing something like this again. My wife was appalled when she first heard of this. She works in the public schools with mildly autistic children. While many have sensory issues, and few are athletically gifted, most can function in nearly any setting. All this jerk had to do is to recognize what the kid could bring to his team, play him the absolute minimum required, and let everyone enjoy the experience. Oh, by the way, my son was recently diagnosed, at the age of 17, as being very slightly autistic. He's a senior in high school, plays football, carries a 3.8 GPA, and is actively being recruited by a number of colleges for his academics. So much for autistic kids being "vegetables".

posted by Howard_T at 10:38 AM on October 13

It is people like this coach that make youth sports suck, badly. racde, yeah well Scott Peterson got the stuffing kicked out of him in prison recently so I can still hope, can't I? Actually, I'm not a big fan of the concept of the suckiness of jail being any kind of a criminal deterrent. Its not the other prisoner's job or place to further punish scum like this. Nor should it be.

posted by fenriq at 10:51 AM on October 13

They should tie him to a pole and let people throw baseballs at him.maybe then he will realize what an ididot he is.but then again MLB players get ordered to bean people all the time.its a stupid tradition that needs to stop,on all levels.its not part of the game.you hit me with a ball,you better be ready get down.and I mean in the streets or wherever I see you.

posted by mars1 at 11:08 AM on October 13

Part of me is wondering - WTF were the jurors doing?! Now, I don't know the details of the various charges and what actions have to be committed in order to qualify for them ... but it seems like this guy should've been found guilty, on principle if nothing else, of pretty much anything the prosecution decided to throw at him. So, when I read "Downs was acquitted on a more serious charge of criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault. Jurors deadlocked on a charge of reckless endangerment." - my first thought was that the jurors really let this guy off the hook!

posted by littleLebowski at 11:21 AM on October 13

Or that they really didn't have the best interest of the child in mind. This guy endangered this poor kid just because he's a little different. All kids have the right to play a sport. Isn't that what being a kid is all about anyways?

posted by BornIcon at 11:49 AM on October 13

But the jury's job isn't to look out for the best interests of the victim. It's to determine whether the law was broken beyond a reasonable doubt.

posted by Venicemenace at 11:51 AM on October 13

This is just so fucked up, on every level. From, if what was was alleged actually occured, an idiotic youth coach, to the state of our society where something like this warrants jail time, to where people on this board are cheering him going to jail and wishing physical harm to a father and husband. Wow, and 8 year old kid throwing a baseball is now assault. I am sure the autistic kid is scarred for life. This should have been dealt with in the community by the league and the kids parents/father slapping this idiot silly, not by the criminal justice system. What a screwed up world. I don't know what to think.

posted by sfts2 at 11:55 AM on October 13

I think it's plain that everyone else is pissed off by this, sfts. Kinda like watchin a bully pick on someone, and from rcade's link, he has real problems with abusing those unable, unwilling, or less able to fight back. Bullys only understand one thing, and I don't think you need a hint as to what it is...

posted by mjkredliner at 12:06 PM on October 13

sfts: - to the state of our society where something like this warrants jail time - Wow, and 8 year old kid throwing a baseball is now assault. - This should have been dealt with in the community by the league and the kids parents/father slapping this idiot silly, not by the criminal justice system While I am equally apalled by the action by the "coach", the rest of these comments baffle me almost as much. This shouldn't warrant jail time?! Even discounting that vigilanteism opens a scary door (although I don't know what I would've done if this were MY son), this guy should be out of society for a period of time. And, the point isn't that a kid simply hit another kid with a ball - he did so after being ordered to by an elder in a authoritative, teaching role! What a screwed up world. I don't know what to think. Doesn't mean you shouldn't try

posted by littleLebowski at 12:16 PM on October 13

littlelebowski, I understand the emotion, what I do not understand is the mob mentality that thinks that an 8 year old throwing a baseball at another kid is a jailable offense. The kid wasn't even injured. (Not that I think we need to wait until he is, but that certainly speaks to the level of danger that the bad judgement led to) My money is on that his parents are hoping to cash in on the hysteria that this seems to have caused. And no, to answer your question, I do not believe it should warrant jail time. I do not actually think that physical violence is appropriate, that statement was a little hyperbole or only meant in a figurative sense. I wouldn't condemn a league sponsored blanket party though. As far as being an adult in a authority role. He is not a trained professional like a teacher, but even if he was I don't think I would advocate jail. He is a dad that volunteers his time to ostensibly help out kids. He did a really stupid thing. Years of jail? Please. How much time will the next pedophile congressman get? Or the murdering drug dealer. What do we do with the dad who advises his kid to beat up the bully that is picking on him. Jail? The teacher who does the same thing. The dad that lets his son's friend ride his dirtbike without a helmet. Or doesn't seat belt his kids in the car. Terrible judgement is not a crime. What is the culpability of the parent of the kid who threw at the kid? I'm responsible for my 20 yearold who drinks, why not my 8 year old that assaults etc. Playing sports involves physical risks, sometimes those risks are due to the game, sometimes the abject idiocy of the adults. I had a kid cut block my 10 yo in a football game because his dad the coach told him to. Jail? Where does it stop? I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

posted by sfts2 at 01:20 PM on October 13

Good enough, sfts - and I apologize - even though I disagree with you strongly, clearly you are "thinking". But, I think your analogies are exaggerative and inapplicable - i.e., the kid who beats up the bully at the urging of his dad, or the parent that lets his kid ride a bike without helmet ... drastically different circumstances. Terrible judgement such as this, that qualifies as non-self-defense assault against another person, IS a crime. One thing I do somewhat agree with you on - While it would be a far stretch to hold the parents of the kid who threw the ball responsible, I do hold that kid somewhat responsible and some kind of punishment is warranted. But, the weight of responsibility lies with the ADULT who ordered an 8-YEAR-OLD to commit this act. The gist is that this coach's actions are inexcusable - and absent a society where vigilante justice can be limited only to situations where it is clearly justified (who determines that?) - this guy deserves jail time. All in all, yep - we'll just leave it as agree to disagree.

posted by littleLebowski at 01:39 PM on October 13

He is a dad that volunteers his time to ostensibly help out kids. He did a really stupid thing. The alleged incident at the T-ball field in North Union Township happened while Downs was free on $3,500 bond in a case in which he was accused of assault, county court records show. Downs was arrested in early June and charged by state police at Belle Vernon with terroristic threats, simple assault and harassment. A 25-year-old woman told police that Downs punched and choked her more than once on June 1 and June 2 at a home in Bitner, Franklin Township. She contacted police on June 3. The woman also told police Downs threatened to kill her while he held a knife. Fayette County Judge Ralph Warman granted a protection-from-abuse order on June 6. Sounds like a great role model for youngsters. Seriously, though, I think it's a bit different than a "bully" picking on another kid. This little kids biggest crime was that he wasn't as good at baseball as some of the others. So the coach has him warm up with the best player on the team, knowing he won't be able to catch balls thrown his way, then the kid takes one off the groin and ear? And one of the things you learn about dealing with 8 and 9 year olds, as either a coach, teacher, etc., is they pretty much do what you, as an adult in charge, tell them to do. I'm a bit shocked the guy got jail time, but I have no problem with it. Jackasses like this who need the glory of winning a little kid T-ball championship, and are stupid enough to do such a ridiculous thing, should be dealt with severely. I also don't think his pending charges, which are in bold above, helped his case, either.

posted by dyams at 01:52 PM on October 13

Thats fine, I love being challenged! I agree that I made examples that were different or a little absurd. My point was that there is a continuum of circumstances, and where do you draw the line? I do not argue against quick and severe negative reinforcement of the coach's behavior. I might have suggested psychiatric evaluation or community service or fine or something if they are bringing charges. Clearly this was a case of prosecutorial over imagination and a criminal case being brought where there are not appropriate criminal statutes, but 'corruption of a minor?' I guess everyone was/is trying to do the right thing. Its just weird.

posted by sfts2 at 01:55 PM on October 13

dyams, I don't think you can consider other charges during a trial for something else, but IANAL. I also think you have a different experience with 8 year olds than I do!

posted by sfts2 at 01:57 PM on October 13

Naw, Dyams, the only bully I was referring to was Downs. The 8 year old should not be held accountable without knowing how menacing Downs appeared to him, I don't think. Corruption of a minor is a fitting charge.

posted by mjkredliner at 01:57 PM on October 13

mjk, I was referring to sfts2's example of the bully (What do we do with the dad who advises his kid to beat up the bully that is picking on him), not what you spoke of.

posted by dyams at 04:10 PM on October 13

Sorry, old chap.

posted by mjkredliner at 04:27 PM on October 13

what I do not understand is the mob mentality that thinks that an 8 year old throwing a baseball at another kid is a jailable offense. Are you retarded? You don't think that hitting someone in the head with a baseball is assault? Wake up man. You're right, the kid wasn't seriously injured (thank god), but I'm sure if I hit you or one of your children with a baseball (with the intent of hurting them) you would want to see me do some jail time. What do you consider a "jailable" offense? Murder? Rape? Or are you sympathetic to the situation because you have had similiar thoughts? I hope you stay away from youth sports and children in general.

posted by LA-4-Life at 05:51 PM on October 13

Hey LA, way to call someone "retarded" in a thread about how we should be treating developmentally disabled kids with the same respect that we treat normal kids. Guh.

posted by Samsonov14 at 06:25 PM on October 13

Wotta sped.

posted by yerfatma at 06:31 PM on October 13

what I do not understand is the mob mentality that thinks that an 8 year old throwing a baseball at another kid is a jailable offense According to this site, in Pennsylvania a simple assault charge is more serious if the victim is under 12 years old -- it becomes a misdemeanor of the first degree. Corruption of minors is also a misdemeanor of the first degree. It seems to me that Coach Psycho had a bit of bad luck in the fact that his inexcusable action fell into the most serious misdemeanor charge. But when you commit an action that's so obviously wrong, and he did it twice by ordering the player to "hit him harder" after the first time, there's not a violin small enough I can play in sympathy for this guy's sentence.

posted by rcade at 06:49 PM on October 13

"I didn't do nothing" He admitted to doing something Double Negitive = Positive

posted by your-money9388 at 01:46 AM on October 14

This is disgusting. The thing is the kids actually tried to hurt the kid. My dad would kick my a** if I tried something like that. I hope the coach gets his a** kicked in prison too.

posted by kidrayter2005 at 01:21 PM on October 14

My money is on that his parents are hoping to cash in on the hysteria that this seems to have caused. sfts2, my money is on the kid's parents just praying that their already challenged kid is not going to be set back any further by the act of an unthinking adult. I appreciate many of your comments on this thread, but I cannot believe that you feel the parent of an autistic child would be driven by greed. Were you serious when you said this?

posted by Howard_T at 02:58 PM on October 14

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