Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mike Crawley - A Father First

Sometimes there is much more to a story than meets the eye, or that is first reported by the news media in a slanted viewpoint that begins trying a case in the public eye, even before charges are officially filed.

On October 24, 2007, the media began a rapid dissemination of unfounded facts about the incident involving Coach Mike Crawley (coach) and a player who alleged that coach assaulted the eighty-five pound player, grabbed his face mask, whirled him in the air, and slammed him to the ground.

However, coaches Jeff Stegal and Shane Wieplowski say that the body slam described in the police report and later broadcast by the news media never even happened.

According to the police report (Incident #I07-1885), the alleged complainant is a minor and a player on a football team, whom we will refer to as "player". Player was learning a new position as a split end. The police report states that during a play, player admits he made a block on another student, who he identified as the son of coach. Player alleges that he made a legal block on the son of coach, after which the son of coach fell to the ground and began screaming in pain, and "appeared to be injured while on the ground after player blocked him".

Coaches Jeff Stegal and Shane Wieplowski, also witness to the incident, identified the block as a very serious and illegal chop block. The block was described as a "cheap shot". The blocking player rams his shoulder into the knees of the targeted player, which can blow the targeted player's knees out.

That was the block that player used against the son of coach. That was not the block that was being taught.

While the son of coach lay on the ground screaming in pain, player stood over him and laughed.

The police report includes statements accusing player of having hit son of coach in a "cheap shot way" before the October 24th incident, and believes that player is a dirty player who probably did the hit intentionally.

Coach willingly met with police to provide a statement. Coach stated that he saw the cheap shot hit on his son, identifying it as an illegal chop block, the result of which injured his son. After the hit, Coach then ran out on the field. He asked player, "What are you doing?" numerous times on his way to the pile. Upon arriving at the pile, he observed player kneeling over his son and laughing at his son. Coach asked player what he was doing, and player turned and laughed at coach. Coach said that he "lost it" and grabbed player by the face mask and threw him behind him to get him away from his son.

As a result of the hit by player, the son of coach was severely injured, and immediately taken to the hospital where they found a deep thigh bruise. Son of coach is scheduled for an MRI on his left hip, and still remains out since the Wednesday evening attack.

Player was taken to the hospital after giving his police report for possible injuries. Player was given a sling by his mother to wear on the arm that he said was sore. Player played in a game on Saturday afternoon following the Wednesday evening attack, but without a sling.

The Cudahy Police Department sought criminal charges against Mike Crawley for criminal child abuse and disorderly conduct.

According to the police report, player's mother checked with the Cudahy police on more than one occasion to ask for a status update on the case, and to inquire as to why coach Crawley had not already been arrested and placed in custody. She also asked for information about a restraining order, but she did not take any action on the restraining order at that time, nor has any been taken yet - now 7 days after the incident.

John A. Birdsall, Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.
135 W. Wells St., Ste 214, Milwaukee, WI 53203
414.831.5465 -