SBD/Issue 163/Franchises

Students Disappointed By Lack Of Patriots Players At Event


Students at Lebanon Middle School in Connecticut Tuesday thought they were going to get "to meet New England Patriots football players, as well as the opportunity to challenge a set of exercise stations," but instead they got "an intern and some workout videos," according to Paul Petrone of the NORWICH BULLETIN. The students were participating in a "gym session that participants thought would feature prominent professional athletes." The event was held to "reward students who participated in the NFL-sponsored Fuel up to Play 60 program." Lebanon Middle School health and PE teacher Alyssa Fabry said that the Fuel up to Play 60 Web site stated that if "enough students participated in the program, they would be rewarded with a gym session complete" with Patriots players. But instead, the session "featured a registered dietician giving them tips on healthy eating" and Patriots communications intern Tim McMaster "playing kickboxing workout videos." Fabry said of the Fuel up to Play 60 program, "I don't think I am going to do it again next year. They built it up quite a bit and really did not come through." McMaster said, "We try to get some players out, but, in the summer, it's hard because they're off" (NORWICH BULLETIN, 5/5).

BIG MISUNDERSTANDING: In Boston, Rapoport & Guregian reported there "was never supposed to be a player, which is consistent with the rest of the NFL teams who put on the same event." Fabry "made the assumption that players would show up when that wasn't the plan." It was "supposed to be a team official who would administer the video." National Dairy Council spokesperson Jenny Bourbeau, whose organization runs Fuel up to Play 60 along with the NFL, said, "Because of the wording from a (letter) we had sent out, someone at the school drew some false assumptions. That letter may have led someone to believe, without actually saying it, that (there would be Patriots). But we never promised a player." Rapoport & Guregian note the problem "arose because the letter made mention of 'celebrity coaches' to lead the fitness event, when that just means they're on the video." The letter "has been cleaned up going forward." Bourbeau: "I feel so bad for the school that there was this big misunderstanding. We're working with the school to find a way to make this right to make sure this misunderstanding doesn't happen again" (, 5/5).

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