Youth football player quits team after coach won’t let him wear pink gloves to support mother with breast cancer

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We have heard of strict uniform policies regarding colors and brands at the NFL level, but what about youth football? If a 12-year-old’s mother is battling breast cancer and he wants to wear pink gloves to support her cause, would anyone stand in his way? Unfortunately, it appears they would.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, Julian Connerton strapped on his pink gloves before his Egg Harbor City Crusaders were set to take on the Ocean City Junior Raiders on Saturday night, but was told he could not play if he wore them. That led to Julian’s decision to quit the team. Word of the incident has circulated around various social media sites, and Connerton’s aunt Sonia Cruz is hopeful the coach will come to his senses.

“The family is optimistic that the coach will apologize and that Julian will rejoin the team,” Cruz said.

Cruz also noted that the team invited Julian to participate in team pictures on Wednesday, and that the EHC Crusaders Facebook page said the team was looking forward to welcoming him back. One member of the Crusaders Youth Athletic League Association, Louis Barrios, said head coach Paul Burgan was unaware of Connerton’s reason for wanting to wear the pink gloves.

“It was strictly a uniform situation,” Barrios said. “No one knew that there was a personal reason why the kid wanted to wear the gloves … The game was ready to begin in minutes, and it was a communication issue. There was a storm. It was chaotic.”

Julian’s mother, Myra Cruz-Connerton, said that her son is a quiet boy but that everyone has been informed of her diagnosis. She does not believe Burgan was unaware of why Julian wanted to wear the gloves.

“(Julian’s) coach did know why he was wearing those gloves and why he wanted to wear them,” she said. “They’ve reached out to us. They told us they want Julian to come back, they really want him to come back to play. We told them that’s Julian’s decision.”

Julian’s friends supposedly told him later that night that they supported his decision and that Burgan was “bad-mouthing” him in front of the team. Cruz-Connerton said that she supports her son’s decision as well and that her and her husband would like to see Burgan suspended for the season.

If the coach knew why the 12-year-old wanted to wear the gloves, he deserves to be disciplined. Even if there was some sort of uniform rule that doesn’t allow it — which would be idiotic to begin with — nobody would have said anything. It’s one thing for NFL players to be told they can’t wear certain items because of licensing issues, but this is a kid whose mother has breast cancer. If he wants to raise awareness for her during a youth football game, he should be given nothing but support. Unfortunately, this is not the first time young players have been punished for trying to do the right thing.

Around The Web

  • SpinMax

    I really don’t have a problem with the coach here. these are the rules, you have to play by them, it’s a life lesson, can’t always get what you want

  • Hockey97

    The coach should be suspended.  I am appalled that this coach could be so cruel about something as sensitive as cancer. 

  • ethanspapa

    Great Call Spin Max!!   I really don’t have a problem with the kid wearing pink gloves in honor of his mom’s fight against cancer EITHER..  That’s what you meant right Spin. Hello..  Right Spin. You there Spin.
    As a matter of fact they should fire the coach and make this kid the captain.
    Right Spin.

  • SpinMax

     Maybe he should wear an all pink jersey and get to score a free touchdown for cancer awareness.

  • Hockey97

    It’s sad that there are people in this world who don’t support cancer awareness and who condone punishing and belittling a child who is supporting his mother who has cancer.  Not like it’s bad enough his mother is fighting cancer, but hey, let’s belittle him and force him to conform instead of using his situation to help support breast cancer awareness.  That’s the grown up thing to do, right?  Wow, SpinMax I feel sorry for the people who know you. 

  • ethanspapa

      They wear pink in the NFL to promote breast cancer awareness . The kid adores and worships his parents,  especially his Mom. You got a mom Spin. Would you where pink if it could help find a cure for your Mom.
     Hello SpinMax  you got it now.
    A true homophobic.

  • SpinMax

    I paint our entire ice hockey surface pink for the thousands of fans to see for breast cancer awareness. Larry Brown can back me on that one.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JVB7KFQGKMJ4J2FJEQLYGITUSY keith

    Max, are you secretly the coach? What a douche nozzle, the coach was running his mouth about the young man behind his back. There was no rule, except for those of the Cretin coach. He should never be allowed to coach anyone again. As a coach of multiple sports over the years, I for one say that the games we play as a team are a very small part of what we are trying to teach these youngsters.

  • CWMc89

    You must don’t have kids, for one you must never stood for any thing you must don’t have any compassion. but you are right threre are rules. but, the kid is twelve years old mother has brest cancer that is hard enough dealing with that. i think the coach did’t want pink any where on his team for any reason regardless of the reason!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6VHZ4DMTDNGD7IZY375CA6OQDA Robert G

    There are no rules, this is not the NFL where you have uniform codes because of license issues. Get real the kid wanted to wear the gloves for his mother with breast cancer…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HOX4NTAZFD3GU7DLQQEYQTBVTM Sedrick

    I agree with SpinMax. I sincerely sympathize with the kid & his mother, but there are rules in life and we must follow them. Part of participating in sports is being a TEAM. What if the kid wanted to wear a pink jersey while the rest of his team wore blue jerseys? What if another kid wanted to wear a red jersey because his brother was abused, what if another child wanted to wear a yellow jersey to support his cause, what if another child wanted to wear a purple jersey to support his cause? See where I’m going? Rules are rules. A child who doesn’t follow rules becomes an adult who doesn’t follow rules.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GQID3JV4S7CLU4KB27436EOVPM Broke_Daddy

    Sedrick you can extrapolate the situation out as far as you want, but that isn’t what happened.  Nobody wanted to wear different jerseys.  “What ifs” don’t matter, because they didn’t happen.  Were they to happen it would be addressed at that time.
    This in fact is a case of what the coach wanted or didn’t want.  There are no written rules as to this situation thereby allowing the coach to make arbitrary and capricious rules.  The fact that he was called out on it, and has asked the kid to come back shows that he knows he was wrong.  It is also a case of him being able to say that he did the right thing after all, even if he didn’t do the right thing in the first place.
    Lastly, that he allegedly badmouthed the kid to the team afterwards is a major concern.  I’m sure it was meant to show by example what would happen if they didn’t follow the “rules,” however, it was classless.  If they didn’t already have an understanding after the kid left the team then they just weren’t paying attention.. 

  • Pasquale Cappiello

    sorry but RULES are RULES! Teams have uniforms FOR A REASON! It is their IDENTITY! You PLAY for the TEAM NOT YOURSELF. right? Isn’t that a lesson for life? Even in the NFL some owners want the players to CUT their hair and some don’t! This kid could of asked first? Isn’t that the bigger lesson??? The kid OVERSTEPPED authority and the coach felt slighted. Even if it were a NOBLE cause, there are still rules and Procedures to get things done. THAT is the LESSON this kid failed to learn and basically is what is WRONG with society today. No one RESPECTS AUTHORITY anymore.

  • TS2012

    Yes there are rules to everything we do including to the people that teach our children. I guess the lesson that the coach is trying to encourage is that once you show your ass you then go and talk bad behind that persons back. Good job coach, don’t we have enough problems with our younger generation already. There has always been ways that these types of issues are allowed but I guess you are just a burly brute who wants it his way and no one else matters. You need to be released from teaching our children until you learn yourself on the proper way to show some respect. Our children don’t need your style of instrution.

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.a.snyder.5 Peter A Snyder

    Come on people, it is youth football. If rules are rules, then they all should be wearing the same color shoes, socks, etc. Are the kids all wearing black gloves, gray gloves. I think the coach should rethink who he is coaching and at that level it is a learning process. They aren’t there for the Super Bowl. They are trying to have fun and learn how to play the game. No more, no less.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.maltby Bill Maltby

     SpinMax you are a real JERK!!! this is not the 1950’s.. This kids mom has a deadly disease. Gee lets hope your mom doesn’t get sick. Its just GLOVES..

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.maltby Bill Maltby


  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.maltby Bill Maltby

    I wish I could come face to face with you dicks that say punish the kids for supporting a kids dying mother. Or at least breast cancer. I would show you who needs support. That would be you by the EMT’s. I sure hope none of you that have mothers who have something like this happen to them. Then have folks tell you “aww too bad”..

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VGQNPFVBI6BLTYHOMDLX3D4HAQ richard s

    I coach  baseball and football and have rules stating that the primary colors of shoes and gloves must match uniform. Pink would not pass unless he arranges ahead of time for an exemption, The whole team could have been involved at that time if he really wanted to show support we would join in.

  • SpinMax

    I gotta give it up to you common sense guys. You hyperventilaters are hilarious. Hopefully my other comments get approved

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    Yes, this is true

  • http://www.facebook.com/teri.d.springer Teri Donovan Springer

    There is no rule against it. Check your facts. It was solely the coach’s decision. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/teri.d.springer Teri Donovan Springer


  • http://www.facebook.com/teri.d.springer Teri Donovan Springer

    JERK….READ THE STORY. There is NO RULE about gloves, pink, black or puce!

  • http://www.facebook.com/teri.d.springer Teri Donovan Springer

    Sigh….READ BOTH STORIES. There is NO mention of gloves in the rules. This was a personal decision by the coach.

  • http://www.facebook.com/teri.d.springer Teri Donovan Springer

    Richard, that MAY BE the rule in YOUR league. If you read both stories you would know there is NO RULE regarding gloves in this league. They can wear them, any colour or not wear them.

  • SpinMax

     Is not a coach’s decision rule enough?

  • Maritimer1

    Not when it’s unreasonable, as this was.