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Mississippi players file suit over alleged whipping by basketball coach

By Cindy Boren

Three high school basketball players have filed a lawsuit in Jackson, Miss., alleging that their coach whipped them with a leather weightlifting belt during practice last month.

Marlon Dorsey, the boys coach at Murrah High School in Jackson, Miss., has been on leave since late last month and acknowledged paddling players in a statement to the Clarion-Ledger. The school district said in a statement that it cannot discuss the matter "because of employee confidentiality rights."

In his statement to the paper, Dorsey wrote:

"I took it upon myself to save these young men from the destruction of self and what society has accepted and become silent to the issues our students are facing on a daily basis. I am deeply remorseful of my actions to help our students."

Lisa Ross, the lawyer for the players, contends that the video clip shows a player who is bent over being struck by Dorsey, a first-year coach, with a belt. The unnamed players contend they were physically and verbally abused by Dorsey after running plays incorrectly. They say the belt weighed from five to 10 pounds.

"It was very forceful," Jason Hubbard Sr., head of the booster club, told the newspaper. He said that he saw his son being hit. "It wasn't like a spanking, it was a whipping. There's a difference."

Hailicia Francis said her son, Daniel, was afraid to speak out.

"What hurts me so bad is you have intimidated my child so bad that he couldn't come to either one of us ... I entrusted this man with my child, and this is what you do to me."

The coach is not without support among parents.

"He has made them go to study hall, makes them turn in their homework and makes them give weekly reports of their school work," Gary Love, whose son plays for Dorsey, told the paper. "It's been all positive with one bad incident. He made a huge mistake, but he is human.

"It was poor judgment, but he is an outstanding person, determined and driven to make those kids better. I think we all need to step back and give him his job back."

What would your reaction be if this happened to your child?

By Cindy Boren  | November 12, 2010; 6:51 AM ET
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What would your reaction be if this happened to your child?

Utter and complete disbelief that this would happen in the 21st century, followed by extreme anger at this individual, AND anyone making excuses for him.

Please - he made kids go to study hall and turn in their homework?

That's your freaking job as a PARENT, dim bulb.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | November 12, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

God, what a bunch of weirdos these coaches are. I just finished reading Road to Glory, and even the coach admits every one of his players hated his guts. One would think these guys get in to coaching because they want to teach young people how to play the game. Instead, while stating they are "Making men out of boys", these creeps are using their squads to live out their own sado-masochistic fantasies. Every once in a while a John Wooden comes along, and tries to bring some honor to the profession, but most of the time it is populated by the Bob Knights and Woody Hayeses of the world, where we get to see the dark underside of these jerks. Anyone in authority (and that includes Barney Fwank) who takes advantage of a young person under their care should be locked up and have the key thrown away.

Posted by: cbtole2 | November 12, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Thank God the coach wasn't white. The uproar would be 1000x what it is now, at least.

Posted by: shanks1 | November 12, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

This man should be FIRED AND SENT TO JAIL! I find it interesting how the USF coach got fired for grabbing a player to hard and this man is beating these children (who are not his own) and is just suspended!!! If I were a parent of one of these children I would make sure this man would never be allowed to teach or come with in an child/teenager ever again. How dare this man lay a finger on these children. I hope this man faced the maximum charges and has to publicly apologies to this team. Also to the women that made a comment all human beings make mistakes this is NOT a mistake! This is a man with serious mental issues that needs anger management. To all the players parents I hope you find this sickening and are comforting your child letting them know they did nothing wrong. NO child deserves this type of treatment!

Posted by: sdel10 | November 12, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Urge U.S. Congress to enact H.R. 5628 "Ending Physical/Corporal Punishment in Schools Act", already illegal in schools in 30 states, over half our nation and Prohibited by Federal Law in Prisons and Juvenile Detention Centers. 3 Multi-Million Dollar College Football Coaches were Fired for student athelete abuse since December. Our nation's most trusted Children's Health and Education Organizations have issued official position statements Opposing Physical/Corporal Punishment of Children in Schools. Research consistently finds that physical punishment is harmful to the healthy development of children and an impairment to the learning environment.Paddling, when done to a non-consenting adult, is sexual assault. Schoolchildren are the only group of people legally physically/corporally punished.Siome Paddling states have "Teacher Immunity Laws" to protect employees from criminal/civil action.Some states such as Tennessee and North Carolina do not require parental consent or notification for children to be physically punished at school.There were nearly 60,000 "Spankings" or "Paddlings" , where school employees hit children with wooden paddles, some have holes drilled into them, to deliberately inflict physical, psychological and emotional pain as punishment, an egregious form of adult bullying, in Mississippi Schools last year. Ouch! Leflore County School District in Mississippi was sued twice in one month for $500,000 each time for paddling injuries.

Posted by: gworley1 | November 13, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

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