Parents need to know teams’ motel situation
BY MARY MITCHELL firstname.lastname@example.org May 8, 2012 1:06AM
Updated: June 9, 2012 8:14AM
In case anyone is still confused, it is never OK for adult coaches to sleep in the same bed with minors.
“If an adult is sleeping in bed with a 16-year-old, I would recommend that somebody call the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and make a hotline report,” a DCFS spokesman told me.
“That should not be happening,” he said.
But according to a Chicago Police officer whose son plays with the Satchel Paige All-Star Travel Team, this was the proposed arrangement for out-of-state games beginning June 10 through Aug. 17.
“I got an email on March 19 saying that there will be a coach in each one of the rooms with the boys. When I asked the head coach where the coaches are sleeping, he told me they are sharing a bed with the kids,” Shawn Kennedy told me.
“Why would you have adult coaches sharing beds with any of our sons?” Kennedy said he asked.
Michael E. Mayden, a former baseball scout, is the owner of the M.E. Mayden TV and Radio Media Production Inc., an Internet company that provides gospel, sports and community content. Mayden is the head coach and sponsor of the Satchel Paige All-Star Travel Team.
He denied telling Kennedy that the coaches would share a bed with players but acknowledged the coaches would be in the boys’ hotel rooms.
“First of all, anything can happen on the road. If a person wants to engage in deviant behavior or is a pedophile, it doesn’t matter if the coach is in the room or has his own room. He is going to find a way to do whatever,” Mayden told me. “I didn’t tell him that the coaches would be in the bed. He drew that conclusion.”
Mayden told me he assured Kennedy that none of the coaches would sleep with his son.
“I told him that would not be a problem. Those were my exact words,” he said.
Richard Neely, president of the American Amateur Baseball Congress, said it makes sense to avoid a situation where coaches have to sleep with players.
“First, we strongly recommend to all of our organizations that they do pretty thorough background checks, for obvious reasons. When a team travels, they must be chaperoned,” he said.
“In the old days [coaches sleeping in bed with players] was a very common thing. Today, it is best to avoid the situation. But absolutely, that is something that parents should know ahead of time,” he said.
In an email from Kennedy to the other parents, dated April 29, he wrote:
“Although Coach Mayden assured me that he would honor my request not to have my son sharing the same bed with any adult coach, I am still concerned for the sons of other parents who are not aware of the actual sleeping arrangements.
“I am not suggesting that any inappropriate acts have occurred between the coaches and our sons. But I am stating that the current sleeping arrangement has not been fully disclosed to all parents and that it places our sons at risk of harm.”
Mayden said a couple of parents contacted him but they were not concerned.
During a conversation with Kennedy, Mayden said he told the concerned father that the itinerary would remain the same, with adult supervision in each room.
“Nothing has ever happened on our trips. There hasn’t been any problems,” he told me.”
That’s a blessing.
After all, allegations of sexual abuse of young athletes often take years to surface. For instance, in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case, the former assistant coach at Pennsylvania State University has been charged with more than 40 counts of molesting boys going back 15 years.
During our conversation on Monday, Mayden assured me that no coach would be allowed to sleep with a player on the team’s upcoming trip.
Parents should hold him to his word.