Board stands behind removal of coach

LISBON — The removal of a youth baseball coach following the posting of a mostly naked photo on his Facebook page prompted quite a stir at Sunday’s meeting of the Lisbon Baseball Softball Association in the Lisbon fire hall.

A number of parents were there in support of the coach, Chad Carpenter.

A photo on Carpenter’s Facebook page shows a man wearing only string-style underwear and a caption about an edible thong.

Members of the LBSA board explained their position on what happened. One man on the board stated that three people sent him complaints about the photo on Carpenter’s page, which obviously was offensive to at least those three parents.

Another member of the board pointed out the photo appeared along with the logo of the LBSA, the team’s schedule and a sponsor. Board members noted it is hard to get both sponsors and good coaches for the league.

Knowing Carpenter is a good coach, one board member said he reached out to Carpenter and tried to explain what was wrong about what he posted, but instead of reaching common ground, the board member said he and Carpenter just talked in circles. Eventually he decided he was not getting anywhere and the board decided last week to end Carpenter’s affiliation as a coach with two baseball teams — a 12-and-under and a 10-and-under.

Board members denied some of what is being said about them on Facebook, such as posts claiming they attacked him personally, determined the photo was immoral or comparing him to a sexual predator or a pedophile. One board member said what Carpenter did simply showed a lack of good judgment. He suggested Carpenter should come to the board and apologize instead of “beating the drum” on Facebook.

Cassey Chamberlain, who is the mother of a boy who was playing on the 10U team Carpenter was involved with, questioned how she was supposed to explain this to her son when Carpenter was an excellent coach. She said she has nothing against the other two men coaching her son’s team, but she pointed out Carpenter is an excellent coach. She questioned the board’s decision about one picture.

Adam Newbold said he cares about many of the people involved in this and about threats he has seen made against people on Facebook revolving around the issue. Newbold said he could understand that he can post anything he wants on his own Facebook page and those who do not like it can “unfriend” him, but when you are a coach or connected with an organization and people have to “befriend” you to get information for the team, then it makes a difference.

“I do feel bad for Chad,” Newbold said. “But I do think we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”

Members of the board said they decided not to wade into the social media arguments and noted many people “shoot their mouth off” on social media and say things they would not come out and say face to face.

Sharlene Grimes said she has known both Carpenter and his father and both have been good coaches for football and baseball. She said she believes the children are the ones going to be hurt by this. Grimes said she understood the board had made a decision and had to stick with it, but also questioned if they had looked at the other assistant coaches’ Facebook pages.

At the end of the meeting, Newbold suggested the board should meet with all their coaches and remind them to clean up their social media pages.

Another mother, Stephanie Myers, whose husband is coaching one of the teams Carpenter was a part of, said she is upset with members of the board. Myers pointed out she has sat on league boards and there are decisions that need to be made, but just because she did not get along with someone, she found it best to overlook differences if they were a good coach.

She questioned if the board members ever saw Carpenter interacting with the players and how he seems to “absolutely love what he does and have a passion for it.”

Myers also questioned those who have criticized children could have seen what Carpenter posted by pointing out Facebook is for those 13 and older and unless you are added to a group page, you would not see it. However, one board member noted the picture can still be found on Carpenter’s personal site.

Board members denied anything personal against Carpenter, including some of them stating they have only met him once. One board member said they did receive some negative complaints against Carpenter when he coached an 8 and under team a couple years ago, including someone stating Carpenter had yelled at his own child until the boy was in tears. The next year he was not given a team to coach and he took his child to Columbiana.

While the board members said they hate to lose a coach with good skills, they felt they had made the right decision.