Youth football under fire after recent episode of 'Friday Night Tykes'

CNN NEWS/KENS
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Monday, February 3, 2014 - 1:08pm

Millions watched as grown men crushed each other during the Super Bowl game and there are growing fears about the impact of all the impact. So imagine when it's kids being encouraged to crush each other, as George Howell reports, that's part of what's triggering a debate over the new reality series "Friday Night Tykes."

Children's football coaches, gone too far?

"You have the opportunity today to rip their freakin' head off, and let them bleed."

That's the question at the heart of the controversy surrounding Esquire Network's new reality TV show "Friday Night Tykes," featuring five San Antonio football teams with children as young as 8 years-old.

"Don't give me that soft crap."

"I don't care how much pain you're in, you don't quit!"

Is it about teaching discipline, through tough love, or is it crossing the line?

"This is where you earn your play time!"

"If that kid comes across, I want you to put it in his helmet. Do you understand?"

"Yes sir!"

"I don't care if you don't' get up. Let's go."

Two of those coaches now find themselves facing consequences, according to CNN affiliate KENS in San Antonio, Charles Chavarria was suspended after cameras caught him telling players to hit the other team in the head.

Charles Chavarria, "I have regrets with my actions and behaviors. I do have regrets with the shows. I've lost a lot. "

Another coach, Marecus Goodloe, was also suspended, reportedly for encouraging profanity, he apologized on Twitter saying, "It's been a learning experience and will definitely make me a better person and mentor moving forward."

Still, both the CEO of the Texas Youth Football Association and a league parent are defending the program, speaking to CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Brian Morgan, Texas Youth Football Association, "I think what is not being shown is, you know, these hits in the show is not mentioning what's happening after the fact, that the coaches are pulling the kids together to correct their actions as far as to say, this is not the proper way you tackle."

Lisa Connell, "It is an intense activity and our kids are pushing themselves, but it's because they have the potential for that greatness."

But some experts say the aggressive techniques, and hard  hits, puts kids at risk of suffering serious injuries.

Terry O'Neill, Practice Like Pros, "It's everything that's wrong with youth football, and to some degree it's a lot of what's wrong with television."

With more episodes planned to air, the debate continues about whether these young athletes are being pushed to their fullest potential, or being pushed past the limit.

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