Youth football coach loses job after reportedly punishing boy over bullying

A Connecticut youth football coach lost his volunteer job this week after punishing a boy he accused of bullying a teammate, according to a report.

WTNH-TV reported Thursday that Todd Kennedy ordered the boy to run laps because wanted kids on the team to know that bullying would not be tolerated. He coached 10 and 11-year-olds in the Durham Middlefield Football league.

“They said, why did you feel that you were qualified to handle this bullying incident,” Kennedy said of the adults who run the league. “I’m like, because I’m a father.”

The station reported the bullying took place at school on two occasions.

After the first time, Kennedy talked to the team. After the second, he addressed the alleged bully in front of the team last week, the station reported. The boy denied he was being a bully.

Kennedy told WTNH he praised the boy for doing the laps without complaint.

He said he never got to tell team what happened.

“They never heard from me, so now you’ve got these children that I’ve been coaching since August and all of a sudden their coach just disappears,” he said.

The firing spurred three boys to quit the team. Two are the sons of Kennedy. The third is the son of Shannon Riso.

“Bullying is okay—that’s the message I got,” Riso told the station. “That’s why my son is not going to play for them. I want him to be around better role models than that.”