Helmet phone lands Winnipeg kids' football coach in hot water
A minor-league football coach in Winnipeg has been suspended after he outfitted a 10-year-old quarterback's helmet with a wireless communication device.
An official noticed the coach of the St. Vital Mustangs was communicating from the sidelines with his quarterback on the field using a Bluetooth-equipped cell phone during a game on Aug. 24.
The coach has been suspended for two games, and the Mustangs had to forfeit that game, which they had won, said Rob Berkowits, executive director of Football Manitoba.
Berkowits stopped short of accusing the coach of cheating, saying instead that he "didn't use the best judgment."
"The coach thought it would maybe provide him an opportunity to have some sort of an edge against the opposition," he said.
Football Manitoba has never seen a similar situation before, and doesn't believe it will happen again, Berkowits said.
"It goes against the spirit of the game, in my opinion," he said. "The other concern that I had was about safety in terms of altering the helmet, because you void the warranty of the helmet."
Berkowits said he wouldn't be surprised if the Manitoba Minor Football Association implements a rule prohibiting communication devices in helmets.
Paul Nellis, the president of the Mustangs Football Club, called the incident an "error of judgment," and said the coach has served the suspension. The issue has served as a "life lesson" for the players, he said.
Wireless communication devices are illegal in the Canadian Football League, but are regularly used south of the border in the NFL.