Players Protest Suspension

September 12, 2018

Instead of going to practice last Monday, 30 players on the Saugus (Mass.) High School football team protested the removal of their head coach, Anthony Nalen. According to Wicked Local, the players visited the school administration building, then marched to the Saugus Center rotary with hand-made signs.

“We just want our coach back. That’s why we’re doing this,” James Moise, a senior captain for the team, said.

The school has not officially confirmed suspending or firing Nalen. According to various news tips leaked, the incident leading to Nalen's suspension was an August preseason practice, in which players supposedly practiced in their underwear.

Jake Morgante, a senior captain, said he believes the superintendent “just wants (Nalen) out.”

“Coach Nalen knows how to win a football game,” Morgante said. “He’s spent thousands on us out of his pocket, with team dinners and stuff. He brings us around his kids. His family is our family. They should rehire Nalen, and we should then go make a playoff run. Without Nalen, we’re not winning a game. We have a sophomore quarterback, and we have no staff telling him what to do. Nalen gets the offense going. Nothing against Coach Mabee, but we need our coach back.”

Elizabeth Marchese, the mother of a football player, said that the school administration has received between 35 and 40 emails from parents, but has not responded to any of them. She said the school's lack of response was “negligent.”

“I think that this run-and-hide way to deal with things doesn’t work,” Marchese said. “I’ve requested a meeting with no response. I’ve requested certifications of people they’re putting on the field [to coach the players] with no response.”

Kerlines Soares, whose son, Marvens Jeans, plays football for Saugus, expressed disapproval of the lack of transparency.

“It’s really frustrating,” Soares said. “For the coach to be in a situation like this, it’s unfair. They have no right to do what they did to him, and we as parents have asked questions, and we’re waiting for answers. Nobody has answered us. They don’t even want to hear us. That’s unfair for the kids. They’re supposed to be beside our kids, and make sure we have answers. My son was stressed. He can’t even sleep. He’s 16. None of them can sleep. They are worried about the coach.”

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