At least a dozen Inspiration Academy baseball players were suspended for their involvement in a locker-room hazing incident earlier this week, baseball academy director Mario Jimenez told the Herald.
Jimenez didn’t have a full list of players in front of him when reached Saturday afternoon, but he estimated between 15 and 20 players were suspended for their proximity to the incident. He declined to name the individuals he penalized.
Jimenez said he interviewed every player in the program as part of his investigation into the incident before settling on suspensions ranging from one to three games for any player who was in the locker room at the time it took place.
“A lot of the response I get is, ‘Boys will be boys,’” Jimenez said. “I understand that to a certain extent, but I will not allow our kids to think that this is OK now and then down the road they’re bystanders when something worse happens at the college level.”
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The action in question is commonly referred to as the “impossible sit-up,” and involves pinning the victim’s head to the floor with a towel covering the eyes, and the victim in the starting position for a sit-up. The victim is challenged to do a sit up with the force of the towel holding him down. As he starts to force himself up, the person holding the victim down will remove the towel and the unsuspecting victim winds up flinging himself into another accomplice’s butt.
A lot of the response I get is, ‘Boys will be boys,’ and I understand that to a certain extent, but I will not allow our kids to think this is OK.
Mario Jimenez, Inspiration Academy baseball academy director
Jimenez swiftly levied the suspensions, which began with a game against St. Petersburg Catholic on Friday, included a game Saturday and will finish with a game against Bayshore on Wednesday for those who received the maximum punishment.
“I didn’t think it was funny,” Jimenez said. “And I didn’t think it was the right thing to do because from my perspective I don’t think that’s how you draw people closer together.
“I want this place to be different.”
Jimenez said this is the first hazing incident he’s aware of during his four years at the Bradenton private school, and he hopes his response will prevent any future escalation.
“I still didn’t like how it was trending,” Jimenez said. “I’m going to hit it head-on.”