It has become a waiting game for the Dorchester Eagles. The football and cheerleading program is waiting for the national Pop Warner board to come back with a decision that could decide the fate of the neighborhood's pigskin future.
The Eagles are also waiting for the Osecola County Sheriff's Department in Florida to process charges being pressed against a Cranston, R.I. coach who allegedly took part in a brawl with an Eagles player at Disneyworld last year.
Last December, members of the Dorchester Eagles and the the Edgewood Eagles of Cranston, R.I were involved in an altercation at a hotel during the Pop Warner Super Bowl week in Florida. The fight has had lingering effects on the program and the people involved. The brawl that took place at the Disney's All-Star Resort between the two teams apparently started with some unsportsmanlike banter at a party held after the first day of competition in the tournament.
The back and forth chatter of the boys continued the next morning and a clash between the two teams took place in the cafeteria. It ended with one of the Dorchester Eagles' players being taken to the hospital to receive stitches after allegedly being hit in the head with a chair. A second Dorchester youth was allegedly assaulted by an adult coach from Cranston.
Soon after these events took place the Dorchester Eagles were asked to leave the resort and were not allowed to play in a scheduled consolation game. More punishment quickly followed. The Pop Warner national league suspended the entire Dorchester program from post season play for the next three years, while head coach Tony Hurston was suspended for a year. The Cranston team was put on a year's probation and given a warning not to commit a second offense.
Many involved with the Eagles organization remain upset by the ruling and have worked to have the decision reversed. In the weeks following the decision, the Eagles hired a lawyer and explored their options. The first step taken was to reassure parents that the organization is doing everything in their power to keep the program running. The next was to prepare to go before the national board to appeal the ruling.
Two weeks ago, Al Perello and Joe Pianella, New England Regional Director and Eastern Massachusetts Pop Warner Commissioner respectively, attended the National Board meeting. The suspension was discussed, but the organization has yet to hear back from the board.
Pianella could not be reached to comment on the situation, while Perello did not want to comment on the matter until a decision was reached. He did say, however, that the board is taking new evidence into consideration and the investigation is ongoing.
The situation has been an emotional one, especially for the Eagles' player who was allegedly assaulted by the coach. The fallout of the decision made by the national league has him feeling as though he is to blame for the team's current status. His mother has placed him in counseling to cope with his feelings of guilt, she said.