Pop Warner, the country’s largest youth football organization, said Wednesday that it is investigating a video clip of a violent collision between two youth football players that has prompted outrage on social media.
The details behind the video are immediately unclear — including when and where the hit occurred, and the team, children and coaches involved.
In a statement provided to USA TODAY Sports, Pop Warner spokesperson Brian Heffron said the national organization was “deeply disturbed” by the video and trying to determine if the coaches involved were affiliated with Pop Warner.
“If in fact it was Pop Warner coaches leading these drills we will take action,” Heffron said. “What we saw was dangerous and, frankly, offensive to the overwhelming majority of our coaches who teach the sport the right way.”
Heffron added that Pop Warner mandates training for its youth football coaches, instructing them to teach “the proper, safe progressions of tackling techniques, including practice against dummies, particularly at such a young age.”
“Over the past 10 years Pop Warner has instituted a number of player safety rules, and this example runs counter to our practices,” he said.
The video, which was posted on Twitter on Tuesday, shows one child attempting to tackle another and getting flung to the ground. Someone is heard saying “you’re good, you’re good” as the child attempts to stand up.
Prominent former NFL players, media members, parents and football fans widely decried the video on social media, as well as the unknown coaches or adults who were present at the time.
“Attention all parents! If your kid is doing this drill. Take your child off the field and don’t go back to those stupid coaches,” former NFL wide receiver Torrey Smith wrote in one tweet. “Coaches like this aren’t safe and ruin the image off football.”
USA Football, which does not operate youth leagues but serves as the national governing body for the sport, also criticized the events on the video.
“This is against everything that we in football stand for and has no place in our game,” spokesperson Steve Alic wrote in an email. “It is an affront to the millions of Moms and Dads who coach youth football with the greatest care for their kids.”