Posted at: 10/26/2012 3:34 PM
| Updated at: 10/26/2012 11:37 PM
By: WNYT Staff
VALATIE - In a sport better known for issuing yellow and red cards, an area soccer coach got handed a pink slip on Friday.
Tamarac High School varsity coach Charlie Meacham got booted from his job just hours before his team played in a class B sectional quarterfinal against Ichabod Crane.
In an apparent attempt to motivate his team, using what he thought to be humor, Meacham posted on his Facebook page the following strategy: Since most of the players (on Ichabod Crane) are Mexican, we need to bring tacos and green cards to the game and thrown them on the field. Then we'll get a beat up truck with a fake immigration sticker on the door and drive it onto the field.
That posting spread quickly on the social media website and by mid afternoon Friday, Tamarac's superintendent Lou McIntosh caught wind of it.
The game plan for McIntosh included a pregame apology to the entire Ichabod Crane community.
"All of our players were appalled by the statements when they heard it," McIntosh said on the sidelines, surrounded by the Ichabod players and coaching staff. "I want to deeply apologize for that and let you know that that's now what we represent. That's not who we are and we're not going to tolerate it."
Just hours earlier, McIntosh called first year varsity coach Charlie Meacham into his office for a face-to-face on the Facebook fiasco.
"He admitted doing it," McIntosh said. "He said he was doing it jokingly and then when he saw it in the bigger scheme of things, he was remorseful but that was something that's not acceptable even in a joking manner."
Meanwhile, Ichabod senior Jesus Gomez says he and his teammates heard about the comments and used it for motivation.
"We just take it as something to fire us up and help us play even better," Gomez stated. "It gives us power on the inside. We want to make a statement that even though there's racism out there, it doesn't bother us and it doesn't affect our playing."
Ichabod head coach Mattias Nordgren says he was just happy to see his team, ranked third in the state with a 14-0-1 record, focus so well on the game.
"It was unfortunate and it happened," Nordgren said, "He made a mistake that he has probably regretted right after it happened."
Right after Meacham's firing, Tamarac needed to find a replacement coach or else forfeit the game. Fortunately middle school principal Rich Pogue had some soccer coaching experience on his resume.
"It was something I was happy to do," Pogue admitted. "The kids deserved to be able to play their game today. They've earned this right."
In the end, it was hard to find anyone who disagreed with the decision to give Meacham the boot.
"I think when you're in a school position of leadership and we're espousing certain values and you want to be consistent with what we say and do, I think it's the right decision," said Lee Bordick. Ichabod Crane's interim superintendent.