A Putnam County mother is upset after she said a Pop Warner Football league member told her that her 6-year-old son, Michael, was too fat to play football.
“The way that he spoke to my child, my child will not play football for Pop Warner again,” said Glenda Hernandez.
Hernandez told Local 6 sister station WJXT-TV in Jacksonville on Monday that her son’s dreams were crushed after the annual weigh in for Pop Warner football showed he was 20 pounds over the league limit.
Hernandez took her son for a physical just days before the weigh in and said her son was cleared to play by doctors.
“If there was any reason that he shouldn’t have played football, the doctor would’ve stated it right then and wouldn’t have cleared him for his physical,” said Hernandez.
President of the Putnam County Athletic League, Ricky Wright, told WJXT a different version of the story.
“I explained to the mother that he was not in the range of the weight requirement,” said Wright. “Her statement to me was, ‘So you’re saying to me that my son is too fat?’ Unfortunately, this mother was the only one out of all the people standing there who used the word fat."
“He looked right at me and said, ‘He’s too overweight,’” said Hernandez. “It had him crying in the gym because he knew he couldn’t play his favorite sport.”
According to the National Pop Warner Guidelines, Tiny Might teams consist of children between ages 5 and 7, and weighing between 35 to 75 pounds. That number is set for safety reasons, the league says.
Wright said his organization prides itself on being sensitive, and typically schedule additional weigh ins for players who might be on the bubble. Hernandez claims her son was never give that option, but Wright argues she took off before he could even offer.
“Had she given us the opportunity to talk to her, I would have told her that we were probably going to extend because we have other kids we are dealing with this," said Wright.
Both sides describe the situation as frustrating and for Michael, he says school won’t be the same this year without his weekly games.
“I really wanted to play that sport, but I didn’t get a chance to play just one game,” said Michael Hernandez.
Hernandez signed Michele up for Little League baseball this year and has removed her daughter from Pop Warner cheerleading.