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Players Must Treat Teammates With Respect, Even When They Don't Get Along

By Peter Schwartz, USA Football, 09/06/18, 12:00PM CDT

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If you have a disagreement with a teammate, talk about it. Don’t let it get physical. Nobody wins when that happens.

As a parent, one of the most important things to instill in a child is how to have respect for people. That goes for family, friends, neighbors, the waitress in a restaurant and especially – as it pertains to youth football – coaches and teammates. Players don’t have to be best friends, but they need to respect each other. Your child may not like the left tackle, but as he walks past him at the start of practice, he should still say hello or give a nod of acknowledgement.

The subject came to mind a few years ago when then-New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith was punched by teammate I.K. Enemkpali, which resulted in two fractures to Smith’s jaw. The dispute was reportedly over $600 that Smith owed the linebacker, who was subsequently released.