American Morning

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November 11th, 2010
08:48 AM ET

Coach whips teen basketball players, parents fight back with suit

A shocking cell phone video shows a high school basketball coach using a weightlifting belt to whip one of his players.

More players at the school, Murrah High School in Jackson, Miss., say they have been whipped too. The coach, asst. coach Marlon Dorsey, admitted to paddling the boys and is now reportedly on leave. Some of the parents have filed a lawsuit against the school district.

This morning, one of the fathers, Jason Hubbard, Sr., tells Ali Velshi what happened to his 15-year-old son, who is not the player in the video but was allegedly hit.

Also, Lisa Ross, the attorney representing the parents of three players in the suit against coach Dorsey, Principal Frederick Murray and the Jackson School District, details the laws at play in the case.


Filed under: American Morning • Education • Justice • Parenting • Sports
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. MSP

    I actually played high school basketball in Jackson, MS at a rival school in the late 90's. Our coach did the very same thing, but with a thick wooden paddle. For a few weeks our coach would chain up the doors and allowed NO parents inside the gym like this coach did. Only the players and the coach were in the gym. At this time cell phones were non-existent to high school students so we couldn't record the actions by the coach. It was all here-say. All he got was a letter from the Jackson Public Schools athletic director saying that he needed to stop his actions. This shows how times have changed.

    November 12, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
  2. N McClendon

    I felt very frustrated when I saw the father that reported the beatings state that he needed to think about it or talk to his wife before reporting the beatings. What the heck? Come on! You jump right up and tell that coach to stop! Stop right now! I'd have called the police from the bleachers I sat on. There are a million better ways to get a young person to listen and do better. Beating someone – and publicly – is humiliating and creates fear. Fire this coach and get him away from any sports teams in the future. He needs to not be around kids. Still, the dad reporting this should have stepped up immediately. Now a law suit follows... Come on...

    November 12, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  3. jim windham

    I just watched the father on tv. He watched it 3 times then he got his video and lawyer. Now that is an example of the parents of these "fine young men"

    November 12, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  4. cranbailey92

    More than likely, the school district did not know what was going on. The coach should be punnished, not the school system.

    November 12, 2010 at 8:30 am |
  5. CJ

    If any of you think this is an acceptable behavior by this coach you should seek counseling. This type of deplorable action would only be condoned in a bible belt state and he will probably be let off and allowed to continue to teach/coach in the same district because he said he is doing it for the greater good and being led by Jesus. Disgusting.

    November 12, 2010 at 8:07 am |
  6. MeLoN

    Not only is that COACH (note the correct spelling of the word) a lunatic – so are the people in this blog that support that kind of treatment of students. Not only should the COACH be fired he should be convicted of assualt and battery (at the very least) and sentenced to prison.

    Any person that supports that COACH is a closet child abuser.

    No person has the right and/or duty of "whipping" another person's child. If a teacher/COACH ever raised their hand to my child – I would personally hospitalize that person – be it male or female.

    November 12, 2010 at 8:01 am |
  7. MARIA

    BAD PARENTS ALWAYS HAVE BAD KIDS.
    AND WE HAVE ALOT OF BAD KIDS IN OUR SCHOOLS
    MAYBE THIER PARENTS SHOULD DISCIPLINE THEIR KIDS AT HOME AND PUT THE BEER DOWN . AND LOOK AT WHAT THEIR BAD CHILDREN ARE DOING. THESE KIDS SHOULD NOT BE IN OUR SCHOOLS.

    November 12, 2010 at 1:20 am |
  8. Megan

    I understand that basketball is a discipline sport. The coach is supposed to be a figure that the players look up too. The coach not only whipped them....but if you look at the video, he even took a stance when whipping them. It looked like he whipped them as hard as he could. I am so sorry for those kids. Sports are supposed to something positive in thier lives. Every coach wants to win, but what price did this coach to pay to win! Very sad,,,,my heart goes out to the boys on this team, they didnt learn teamwork, they learned to use violence to get what they want!

    November 11, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
  9. Jon Morotti

    I also beatup by football coach in highscool 1970,es.I had learing disability.Never going anywhere withit just wanted to fit in.Now Im a boss better to talk.

    November 11, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  10. James

    I'm assuming corporal punishment is still o the books in Mississippi. Many of the alledged misbehaviours this coach states may indeed justify his actions. But give me a break. A kid messes up a basketball play.

    Its that type of behaviour that makes students disrespect their teachers.
    40 years ago, when the strap was the punishment of choice, those teachers that overused it, gained zero respect. Those that used it fairly, the students had the highest respect for.

    Lucky for this coach I wasn't the father in the stands.

    November 11, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  11. Jon Morotti

    I also beatup by football coach in highscool 1970,es.I had learning disability.Never going anywere withit just wanted to fit in.Now Im a boss better to talk.

    November 11, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  12. John

    Yeah show that COUCH who's boss! Sorry couldn't resist! Spare the Rod and Spoil the child!

    November 11, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  13. Jeannie B

    Yea! Let's go back to the good ole days. Like a one room school I attended years ago. One teacher going behind the older girls and snapping their bra straps. Another one cracking my sister on her knuckles because she was left handed or using the same ruler to smack someone across the face because they turned around in their seat. Oh, let's not forget another teacher who was outside chopping wood for the stove and hit an 8th grader with the hatchet up side his head and drew blood. Probably something the student said! Yep, let's go back to the old days.

    November 11, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  14. Laura Black

    The coach is crazy!!! Hopefuly he's not on a paid leave, because he is a lunatic and should be locked up. What are wrong with the parents who actually witnessed this and questioned what they should do!! Maybe they should be with him.......

    November 11, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  15. Nicole

    Why did he not step up and say anything the 1st time he saw this happening at practice. If I saw these students getting beaten like this I wouldnt of waited 3 practices to talk to the pricipal. If I was there I would have said smthing right away!!!

    November 11, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  16. Kari

    Being a teacher myself, it makes me sick to my stomach to hear this story. I can't believe this coach thinks he can justify physical punishment on his players. Teachers and coaches are to uplift and motivate students with our hearts and minds, not with a paddle. Students are supposed to feel safe in our schools and not be afraid to tell someone, even their parents, if they feel like a teacher or a coach is doing something immorally wrong. This coach should be fired and never be able to coach again.

    November 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  17. Robert Fathman, Ph.D.

    The coach should be fired, lose any educational certification he may have, and have assault charges filed against him. The district he works for does not allow "corporal punishment," hence what he did was assault and battery on a child.

    November 11, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  18. Joan i

    What sick-o would defend this jerk. Look at the video, why wait, fire him now.It is not acceptable for any one to do this to a student/child.

    November 11, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  19. Yvette

    I think this a shame; it further demonstrates why the entire state of MS continues to have the dubious labels of the poorest/obese, etc State in the union. Had those young men "beat his ass with a belt" they would be put up on charges and expelled for hitting a teacher. Yet his behavior, goes unchecked and the school administrator response and the lack of law enforcement response speaks volumes about this particular state in our Union. The school District should lose federal funding for it promoting bully like behavior tactics by its staff/administrators. Clearly this is violation of law. Those who find it as good discipline need to think how this promotes violent and abusive behavior for those young men. WHAT DO WE COMMUNICATE BY NO PUNISHMENT FOR THIS COACH...

    November 11, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  20. Cynthia

    I cant believe this HS basketball coach is not in jail, I feel sorry for these poor kids that were afraid to tell thier parents in fear of being benched and harassed by other students, Thank-god a parent was thier to witness this and report it, and the man that wrote earlier to compare it with the military and protecting other soldiers is way out there, its a game war is not. I hope this coach is punished with the fullest extent of the law

    November 11, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  21. Joan in Georgia

    This coach should be fired and his license revoked. He should not be allowed to teach or coach ever again. This is one of the worst decisions I have ever seen by a coach, teacher or mentor. I could see him making him run laps but to beat him for not running a play correct is just plan abuse.
    Fire him , reprimand all other staff that witnessed this and did nothing to stop it. The Principal of this school should be reprimanded also.
    There is NO excuse for this type of abuse to any athlete or student, regardless of what play mistake they may make.
    Get rid of this guy now, he is a danger to society.
    This is horrible and makes me sick to watch the video.

    November 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  22. Mino

    Schoolchildrens' "spanking" related injuries (WARNING – These images may be deeply disturbing to some viewers. Do not open this page if children are present).

    http://nospank.net/a7-05.pdf

    Reasonable and moderate? You decide.
    (WARNING – This sound recording may be deeply disturbing to some listeners. Do not open this file if children are within listening range).

    [audio src="http://nospank.net/prj-006.wav" /]

    November 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  23. Mino

    People used to think it was necessary to "spank" adult members of the community, college students, military trainees, and prisoners. In some countries they still do. In our country, it is considered sexual battery if a person over the age of 18 is "spanked", but only if over the age of 18.

    For one thing, because the buttocks are so close to the sex organs, anal region, and so multiply linked to sexual nerve centers, striking them can trigger powerful and involuntary sexual stimulus in some people. There are numerous physiological ways in which it can be intentionally or unintentionally sexually abusive, but I won't list them all here. One can read the testimony, documentation, and educational resources available from the website of Parents and Teachers Against Violence In Education at http://www.nospank.net.

    Child bottom-slapping/battering vs. DISCIPLINE:

    Child bottom-slapping/battering (euphemistically labeled "spanking","swatting","switching","smacking", "paddling",or other cute-sounding names) for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

    Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

    There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping/battering isn't a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

    Plain Talk About Spanking
    by Jordan Riak

    http://www.nospank.net/pt2010.pdf

    The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
    by Tom Johnson

    http://nospank.net/sdsc2.pdf

    NO VITAL ORGANS THERE, So They Say
    by Lesli Taylor MD and Adah Maurer PhD

    http://nospank.net/taylor.htm

    Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping/battering isn't a good idea:

    American Academy of Pediatrics,
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
    American Psychological Association,
    Center For Effective Discipline,
    Churches' Network For Non-Violence,
    Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
    Parenting In Jesus' Footsteps,
    Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
    United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

    In 26 countries, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    The US states with the highest crime rates and the poorest academic performance are also the ones with the highest rates of child corporal punishment.

    There is simply no evidence to suggest that child bottom-slapping/battering instills virtue.

    November 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  24. Allison

    I am totally opposed to what was "video taped", my theory is:
    1. What does he do to these children in the privacy of the locker room???
    2. What if the unthinkable happens and one of these children hits their head or he breaks their back, or...I don't even want to think about it.
    3. If a parent beats a child or lea...ves a mark on a child – CPS is called, and the child is taken away.
    4. If this dude is married and has children, what are those poor people going through – God forbid the wife burn the toast, or the kids spill a drink.
    5. Give me the belt, an eye for an eye....
    I am outraged, this is not a third world country. If we don't speak up, we are guilty for condoning these types of behaviors.

    November 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  25. jon

    now we know why they don't want cellphones in school

    November 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  26. Deborah Stanger

    I don't agree with corporal punishment. There are laws on the books regarding what this coach did. It's called; "assault with a weapon!"
    It IS NOT okay to beat anyone, let alone a child playing basketball!

    November 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  27. jamie

    Rebecca what are you talking about? Whoever filmed this (it does not say it was a parent) has saved many other victims by exposing hard evidence of the coach's abusive behaviour.

    November 11, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  28. Joe Bates

    From what I can see it looks like the coach is facing the other way and hitting the wall. I don't think the student was ever hit

    November 11, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  29. Cheryl Smith

    Are you kidding me that the father had to go home to discuss "the issue with his wife" to know how to deal with the situation? Even more, other students and adults knew of this abuse and did nothing? I know I would have not needed to discuss this with anyone. I would have, and my husband, intervened at that very moment.

    November 11, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  30. Christopher M.

    I suspect that the coach's actions were actually sexually related. I think he is into teen boys and derives sexual pleasure from whipping them. I have come to this conclusion based on the fact that there is simply no justification for whipping a teen athlete. If he cannot motivate them with his words he will certainly not be able to do so with a belt.

    November 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
  31. edwin

    The coach is right to whip the students..society is protecting this kids too much. If they dont want to be whipped then they should quit playing basketball.
    The coach is a teacher, mentor and disciplinarian. I'm on the coaches side about whipping the kids... This is what is wrong with our society....and then we wonder was is wrong our kids.... spare the rod and spoil the kids......that is what the bible says...!!!

    November 11, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  32. Rebecca

    Did this father watch this happen and did nothing? Did he wait til he could get a lawyer and sue. As a woman I would have taken that belt and used it against the couch. If it is so wrong why didn't he stop it when he happened. Now it is horrible because he can make money..

    November 11, 2010 at 10:56 am |