Hooters to pay for middle school football team party amid controversy
CORBETT, Ore. - A Corbett Middle School football coach is determined to take his team to Hooters once the season's over next weekend.
So determined, in fact, he was willing to give up his job over it.
"Yes, this is worth losing my coaching job over," Randall Burbach said on Monday.
Burbach won't be back to coach the team next year following his decision to take the team to the restaurant, which features waitresses in revealing uniforms. The decision seems to be mutual; Burbach was an unpaid volunteer with no plans to be back, and the school was unhappy with the trip and the ensuing controversy.
Burbach's coaching duties were over for the season.
Hooters of America on Tuesday issued a statement that said they would pay for the football team's party:
"The Corbett Middle School football players, coaches and their families have earned the right to celebrate a successful, hard-fought season. This Saturday, Nov. 9, Hooters is picking up the tab for an awesome end-of-season football party to honor the team's gridiron success. To top it all off, Hooters will donate $1,000 along with 20 percent of Saturday's Jantzen Beach location sales to the Corbett Booster Club so that the entire community can join in celebrating the team's winning season," that statement said.
Though he admitted Hooters isn't exactly a "pizza parlor," Burbach said he wanted to take his team on a coming-of-age style trip to wrap up the season.
"We thought we were going to a family sports bar, which I still contend is a family sports bar - they allow kids in there 24 hours a day," he said. "The people who have objected I think really need to do a little research or give me a call."
The school's athletic director disagreed. He sent a letter to parents saying he doesn't support the decision and feels the location objectifies women.
In part, the letter said: "Some might say that this restaurant objectifies women. I would tend to agree. I think it sends the wrong message to our young men and that saddens and worries me the most."
Michelle Rolens, the mother of one of the players and the co-president of Corbett youth football,, said a majority of the kids on the team will still be going to Hooter's on Saturday for what's now an unofficial trip.
"I feel like this has gotten totally blown out of proportion," she said. "I hope that if anything I've taught my kids that I'm a very strong woman. I'm the primary breadwinner in my house, and I don't find it offensive to go to Hooters and see a little skin."
Burbach said he's upset parents didn't talk to him about it first. He said he would have compromised if the concerns had been brought to him several weeks ago, but that now it's too late to change.
"Now I'm being tested," he said. "Almost like God has decided that there's going to be a test involved for what I've been teaching."