By: Ian Logue
Last week it was reported that the Patriots were a “no show” after the Lebanon Middle School in Connecticut beat out middle school students across the state in a contest called a “Fuel Up To Play 60” – and were mistakenly told by a school official would give them a chance to meet the New England Patriots.
After a week of negative publicity for the Patriots, they decided to make quite a splash and sent the biggest ‘Celebrity Coach’ in the world, as the Norwich Bulletin reported that head coach Bill Belichick paid them a visit on Wednesday.
“I know that you want to get back to class, so we’ll keep this short,” said Belichick who received a huge reply of “No!” from the students.
According to the Bulletin, Belichick, starting center Dan Koppen, the team mascot, and a Patriots cheerleader attended the event. Each of the students who attended were also reportedly given a Patriots hat by the team mascot.
Principal Rob Laskarzewski was thirlled with the fact owner Robert Kraft decided to make the event up to the students – even though it wasn’t their fault.
“I know it wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the generosity and the time Mr. Kraft devoted to make this right, and it really shows the heart of the Patriots,” he told Patriots Today.
The program, which was run by the Patriots and the New England Dairy and Food Council, encourages students to fuel up on nutritious foods and play for at least 60 minutes a day. According to reports the letter the Dairy Association sent the school gave them the impression that an NFL player would be at the school because it said, “a celebrity coach would be coming to their school” and it also featured a picture with a Patriots player. The e-mail also reportedly stated that a special event at which “All activities are led by celebrity coaches.”
Apparently the reported event ended up as an hour featuring a registered dietitian giving the kids tips on healthy eating and a communications intern from the New England Patriots playing kickboxing workout videos.
Instead the gym full of students were expecting to meet a player or coach from the team, but according to published reports the Dairy Council claimed the celebrity coaches referred to in that email were always meant to be presented on a video shown to the children.
The fact that the promo used for the program had featured a photo of a Patriots player was definitely misleading, and the team has since requested that they be more clear to the participants going forward to prevent something like this from occurring again.
A video from the event is featured on the team’s website, and can be viewed by clicking here.