Steubenville Plans Uplifting Pep Rally For Coach Reno As He Faces Allegations He Failed To Report A Rape

Steubenville Supports  Coach Reno If you are a Steubenville resident and your town was just embroiled in a nationwide scandal involving underage drinking, social media, football players, and a 16-year-old rape victim do you:

A: Demand rape awareness and underage drinking awareness programs in your high schools and teach your kids about what to do if they see one of their peers in trouble?

B: Worry about your own kids, friends and family members, considering 1 in 5 women have a chance of being raped in their lifetime, and make a donation to the Madden House In Wheeling?

C: Organize a rally to support Coach Reno Saccoccia who is being accused of knowing about the rape and failing to report it to local authorities in a timely manner?

If you answered “C” then you are probably one of these local residents who don’t believe Coach Reno did anything wrong and would like to support him as he faces a possible grand jury investigation in mid-April. A rally to support Reno is scheduled for Saturday, March 30th at 4:00 at the Harding Field House in Steubenville.

I know football is extremely important in Steubenville. I get it. I know Coach Reno is said to be an excellent football coach, and his record for winning games is impressive. I’m sure in the 30 years that he has been the coach he has mentored and helped many young people throughout his career, and this is a great thing. No one is disputing that Coach Reno is a very good football coach, but due to the fact he may have known (And if we are going on the text messages presented in court, that he DID know) that some of his star players had raped a girl and he kept them on the team for eight more games, I can’t quite wrap my mind around the idea of celebrating this man who is facing some extremely serious allegations. Or as one of my friends so eloquently asked on Twitter:

That’s atrocious. So if your kid was raped and an adult knew and didn’t report it to police, you’d throw him party?

As I have said about 100 gazillion times at this point, there are residents of Steubenville who are appalled at the Big Red Football rape and who absolutely adore football and attending games with their families, but who support the 16-year-old rape victim fully and refuse to have anything to do with the team until after the grand jury investigation. There is a petition asking that Coach Reno be immediately terminated which has over 40,000 signatures. There is a petition supporting Coach Reno that has over 100 signatures. 

I think it’s sort of obvious that the majority of people who have followed this case might be of the opinion that Coach Reno is not the best role model for young men.

Big Red Football could serve as a leader in speaking out against and preventing violence against women and girls. How amazingly cool would it be if the team and their coach, whether it is Reno or a new coach, partnered with Futures Without Violence and implemented their “Coaching Boys Into Men” program, which teaches coaches and players how to be role-models and stand against violence towards women?

Whether you’re a coach, a school administrator, a parent, a violence prevention activist, or a community leader, YOU have a role in Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM). By coaching boys into men, you are helping the next generation build respectful and non-violent relationships.

The program has tools and resources for teaching coaches and their players how they can  stop violence against women, rape, how they can have respectful relationships and do their part in curbing rape culture. The eyes of the world are on Steubenville, and it saddens me that instead of taking this opportunity to show the world that they are against violence towards women, they instead use it to support their beloved coach who may have committed a very serious crime. There is a huge opportunity for hope and change and healing in Steubenville, but instead they keep supporting and canonizing the rape culture that caused this crime to begin with. For me as a mom, I have a hard time understanding this logic.


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  • Valeri Jones

    It’s so sad to think of how this case might have been different if the rapists weren’t star football players. As for the fact of Coach Reno…. Well, if it weren’t his football players that did it but he happened to know about it anyway, THEN what would happen? In my honest opinion, he would have been charged and convicted first, probably even before the boys because he is an ADULT in the position of AUTHORITY and should have KNOWN BETTER. Anyone who is supporting him might argue that he is a good mentor and was a good role model prior to this incident but it doesn’t change the fact that what he did was wrong on so many levels and that now he must face consequences. This isn’t a scrimmage, Coach. There’s no “better luck next game.” You messed up and now you gotta pay for it. Yes, it’s sad to see so many promising futures thrown down the toilet with one bad decision, but that’s what happens in life. I sincerely hope that this case is a lesson for teenagers across the country and can at least teach one person that no matter how well-liked and popular you are, there will come a time when no one can bail you out.

  • Maggie

    I wonder if they know that good football coaches, who don’t cover up crimes their players have committed and who ARE good role models on and off the field, exist in the world? Reno is NOT one of them. He is an adult that knew of a serious crime, a RAPE, committed by his players against a CHILD, and he did nothing. He’s disgusting, and so are the people throwing this fucking party for him. Grrrr.

  • C.J.

    I wish every single person who supported the boys who raped that poor girl and are now supporting the coach who looked the other way could feel the pain of the victim and her family for a minute. How can anyone even want a person that looks the other way and wants to cover a rape up to be in a position where he influences their child. What a horrible message to send to the young people of that town. Any young person that is ever raped in that town in the future is going to be terrified to come forward because their town is teaching them that the victim doesn’t matter. Any young person that is capable of rape in that town is going to think there is nothing wrong with sexually assaulting another person. They will just try to make sure it doesn’t get caught on tape next time. If this is what they are teaching their children I have no doubt there will be a next time .I bet every person that attends that rally would not be so supportive if it had of been someone they love that was raped. I feel bad for the people who live in that town who don’t think it is ok to rape a 16 year old girl. I would not want to live or raise children in a town that teaches children football is more important than their safety. At the very least the coach should be suspended pending the grand jury results.

  • Blueathena623

    How does he sleep at night?

  • Michelle

    I am so freaking thankful that I work with an athletic director at my high school who would have had this man fired and students suspended from the team months ago. What ever happened to integrity and morals? What are you teaching your student athletes when you let them get away with anything? Sports are for character building, not glorifying the individual.

  • Justme

    I fully support the concept behind Coaching Boys into Men (and it’s partner, Girls into Women) BUT there are some parts of the program that could place teachers and coaches in hot water if discussed with children. My district tried to implement the program this year, but once the pamphlets and materials were distributed to the schools and put in the hands of the administrators and coaches….it was quickly eliminated due to the content and questions that are suggested for us to discuss with our students.

    My husband is a middle school girls coach and there is NO WAY he is going to sit his team down and talk about dating, violence and things of a sexual manner (which are included in the program). I think a more organic way of dealing with issues that these programs discuss is developing a relationship of trust and respect from the very beginning so that students feel comfortable coming to their coach about issues and struggles in their life.

  • chickadee

    REALLY? REALLY?? At times like these, when you read things like this, you just want to move the good people out of town and quarantine off the remaining people from the read of the nation.

    I have to think that these people are modeling their behavior on that of Paterno’s supporters, but they must have failed to notice how well that didn’t go.

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  • Iwill Findu

    Being a good football coach should not excuse what he did. He failed that girl on a epic level, as a teacher at the school he is required by law to report what happened. It’s part of his duty as a teacher (not just the duty of a decent person), failing to do so he failed to do his job as outlined by the law.
    How good a coach he is has nothing to with how well he does the rest of his job and we all know he failed that test.

  • Janey Paules Chambers

    One word to describe this bullshit SIC !!

  • erik28

    From a supporter at the Coach Reno petition,

    “Reno does not deserve this.I stand behind him, as does my family.If a child comes to their parent about something they did wrong, the first thing we do is try to “fix it”. When we realize we can’t, then they have to be accountable.This is what Reno did.I say God Bless you Reno”

    Why put “fix it” in quotes? Why try to “fix it” before holding the child accountable?

    I’m confused about this petition. This is all the petition reads,


    The Big Red Nation

    Stand up and support Coach Reno Saccoccia


    [Your name]

    but the comments talk about so much more. Is the petition meant to be a reaction to the petition regarding Reno’s resignation? Is it a reaction to the potential charges that might be brought by a grand jury? Is it a reaction to talk-about-town and/or online? What I read in the petition comments over and over again is that Reno is a good man and must have done the right thing (without specifying what he did or didn’t do), and that signers demand he be supported, primarily because of past good deeds in the community and personal assessments of his worth based on his actions and relationships with the signers. Are the signers asking the local and greater community to just take their and Reno’s word for it that everything he does and has done is appropriate?

    An update reads, “This petition and all of the comments will be given to the Steubenville Board of Education to let them know we support Reno and expect them to support him too.” What does it mean for the Steubenville Board of Education to “support him” according to this petition. It reminds me of the “you’ll get yours” comment Saccoccia is reported to have made to a New York Times reporter.

  • Courtney Lynn

    This is disgusting. This person had every opportunity to be the adult, instead he chose to be the kids’ friend.

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