Baltimore area middle and high school, college and university and community league coaches teamed up with Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Chris Canty and CBS sportscaster James Brown to develop a game plan for developing and mentoring young men.

The second installment of the training series “A Call To Coaches: Your Voice Counts, to Baltimore” was hosted by the Verizon Foundation and A CALL TO MEN, a national violence prevention organization. The session brought out a host of former and current sports players, including Willis Whalen, NFL Players Association manager of player affairs and development, and Joe Ehrmann, president of Coach for America and a former Baltimore Colt.

“A healthy relationship begins with respect,” Ted Brunch, co-founder of A CALL TO MEN, said in a statement. “Breaking down traditional stereotypes about manhood is essential, and that begins in the locker room. For instance, it’s not cool to demean a teammate by saying he throws like a girl. When a coach takes the lead and stops that kind of language, men and young men listen.”

The Baltimore event occurred several weeks after Rutgers University fired basketball coach Mike Rice after a video of him physically and verbally assaulting players became public. Rice was shown grabbing and shoving players and throwing balls at them, and also shouted gay slurs at the players.

During the half-day session, coaches gained various resources to prevent abusive behaviors through promoting respectful, non-violent relationships. Materials from the seminar will be made available to the public for download on the

Brown said coaches play an important role in shaping not only who young athletes become on the field, but also in society and in their own personal relationships.

“When coaches are positive mentors and role models, they instill character, respect and other healthy qualities in their players,” Brown said in a statement. “These coaches can take an active role in breaking the cycle of violence in our society, modeling young men who will value women.”


Krishana Davis

AFRO Staff Writers