By Marty O'Brien
12:20 PM EDT, March 13, 2013
Warhill High’s baseball players have joined an increasing number of young people learning that some of what you place on social media can come back to bite you. The consequences for posting what Warhill administration deemed an “inappropriate” video to YouTube is that the Lions were forced on Wednesday to forfeit their much-anticipated season-opening game against York.
Warhill and York, both of which tied Grafton for the 2012 Bay Rivers District championship, were scheduled to play at Warhill on Tuesday, but the game was rescheduled for Wednesday because of rain. In the interim, Warhill administrators learned of and viewed a video of baseball team members doing the “Harlem Shake” – a dance craze particularly popular among athletes – made recently on school property.
Warhill athletic director Dan Mullen said that he and school principal Dan Fields met on Wednesday morning and concluded that players actions in the video were “inappropriate and did not represent the school, the program and themselves in an appropriate manner.” Mullen said that head baseball coach Joe Henzel and his staff were unaware of the video’s existence and that he informed them of it.
Mullen then met with Henzel and his players and told them that their punishment for the video would be forfeiting the game with York. Mullen said that no players were suspended and that no other disciplinary action is forthcoming.
“Some people would say that consequences were too tough and others would say it’s too light,” Mullen said. “We believe it fits the crime.”
“We feel this is a teachable moment for young kids to learn about social media, about how to use it and that it can be used positively. We talked to the coaching staff and the team about the importance of social media and not bringing a negative light to the school, the program or to themselves individually.”
Fields said, “We’re extremely disappointed in the varsity baseball players who posted this. We want them to understand that your electronic fingerprints can boomerang and affect you when you apply for college or a job.”
Mullen added that the baseball program has heretofore been a source of pride for the school during Henzel’s four seasons as coach and “never” been a problem.
“Joe is a fine coach and he and his staff work hard to put a quality product out there and teach young players the right things,” Mullen said. “They will be back in action against Poquoson on Friday, and we expect them to come back, focus on the job they have to do and do it well.”
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