A middle school Hooters party got a coach fired after he refused to change the venue for his team's end-of-the-season celebration. Randall Burbach, the football coach for Corbett Middle School in Oregon, said he was trying to teach the kids to stand for their beliefs, but some parents felt his actions were inappropriate.
The middle school Hooters party was initially the idea of the football players after they voted to go to the restaurant with the consent and encouragement of Burbach. Hooters is known for its scantily-clad waitresses, and several families objected to the idea. However, the coach resisted their objections, though.
"Not allowing myself to be bullied by a vocal minority is the war I want to win," he told local TV station KGW, adding that he wanted to weather the adversity as a model to the players.
Soon afterward, Jean-Paul Soulagnet, the middle schools' athletic director, was forced to step in.
"I asked him to change it because I want the kids to enjoy their season," he told the Associated Press Tuesday. "If there are one or two kids (who are) not going to come because they're not comfortable or their parents are not comfortable, then we need to change it."
However, Burbach told Soulagnet he would rather risk his job than move the awards banquet, and was subsequently fired. The athletic director sent a letter out to parents explaining the reason behind the move.
"Some might say that this restaurant objectifies women. I think [the venue] sends the wrong message to our young men and that saddens and worries me the most," Soulagnet wrote. "[Randy Burbach] was unyielding and emphatically said no (to moving the dinner) for a number of reasons. As a school district and athletic department we do not support nor condone the decision to hold an end of season celebration at Hooters for any of our teams, groups or clubs [across] the board and at all levels including high school."
Hooters is now taking advantage of the controversy by sponsoring a football party at the restaurant for the players who want to attend.
"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 Corbett Youth Football so that the entire community can join in celebrating the team's winning season," they wrote in an email to Deadspin.
Burbach still feels that what happened to him was "wrong," but Soulagnet hasn't changed his mind.
"Hooters is known worldwide for a number of things," he said, "and I don't think food is one of them."