It’s been a talking point from certain quarters for the last several years, that a generation of children is being ruined by the handing out of participation trophies. Kids these days, the argument goes, are “soft” and aren’t given the chance to earn trophies, but rather get one just for taking part, per a New York Times piece in 2016.
On Monday, Albert Breer, a football reporter for Sports Illustrated’s The MMQB, took the anti-trophy sentiment to a rather extreme conclusion. He posted a photo to his Instagram account of his child’s tee-ball participation trophy, with the baseball-shaped head separated from the body, and implied that he had personally destroyed it.
The photo, which Breer also posted to Twitter, drew something of a hostile reaction. First off, several noticed that the trophy, since it had the word “champions” on it, was likely not a participation trophy after all. Others made jokes about the trophy’s resemblance to New York Mets mascot Mr. Met.
“Decapitating a preschooler’s trophy to own the libs,” reporter Jack Kogod said on Twitter.
“Keep the trophy pieces so you can remember why he doesn’t visit you in the home,” Twitter user Action Cookbook replied.
“The cool, rational dude who didn’t understand why people would get worked up over a towel has broken a child’s trophy out of anger,” sportswriter Justin Klugh tweeted, in reference to the recent controversy in which the Boston Bruins were called out for, per The Inquisitr, accepting a rally towel advertisement from the controversial media company Barstool Sports.
Breer, for his part, spent the next few hours retweeting much of the criticism directed toward him, including one tweeter who guessed that Breer’s child had broken the trophy by accident, and that Breer had merely claimed to have destroyed it as a joke.
Albert Breer is not the first person to talk about destroying their child’s participation trophies. James Harrison, who then played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, announced on his Instagram page in 2015 (per Pro Football Talk) that he was taking away the participation trophies his sons had been given, and said that “these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned.”
The National Alliance of Youth Sports, in 2015, came out in favor of participation trophies, because “The first sporting lessons we try to teach our children have to do with sportsmanship.”
Tee-ball is a game generally played by very young children, in which scores are often not kept and winners and losers not proclaimed.