Ionatana Alualu, 45, was charged with assault after he allegedly attacked a 12-year-old player on the opposing team during a youth football game. Alualu served as an assistant coach for the Rock Solid Crusaders of the Hawaii State Junior Prep Sports Association. Watch the Hawaii News Now story below on how this unfortunate incident took place (email subscribers click here).
Kids get into fights on the field and in school all the time. A 45-year-old man should be able to restrain a 12-year-old without injuring him - if Alualu's story has a shred of truth to it. The kid suffered a concussion and a shoulder injury. This is intolerable no matter how you look at it. League officials took the right first step in banning Alualu from games, but they didn't go far enough. The commissioner said it's the parent organization of each team's responsibility to conduct background checks and not the state association.
I'm sorry, but that's just passing the buck. Child safety is the collective responsibility of everyone who works with children in any capacity. The state association should mandate background checks for all coaches and the individual teams should make sure they get done. It's simply inexcusable that a man with a record of 22 prior charges is allowed to coach anyone. Background checks don't require an elaborate set-up. Most local police departments don't charge much more than $10 or so to run one. Just have your coaches go to a local precinct. It takes 5-10 minutes and you're done.
There are also companies that run more extensive checks. If you need some options, please feel free to contact me. I always talk about the need for sports to be fun. However, the environment must be safe before you can have fun. Losses are unacceptable when it comes to our kids. Until next time...
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