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Burros Don't Have a Field After All

Burros parents contacted by Patch on Thursday said the youth football organization told them different things about whether a replacement field was for practice, for games or for both.

If you signed up your children for Mokena Burros football, flag or cheer believing the group had space to play games this season, you were wrong.

is a field only for practice, not for play, the Burros board president said this week.

On Tuesday, five days after the Burros second and final registration for the 2012 season, board President Joe Lentz and several parents spoke at the board meeting.

, with the park district refusing to rent football fields to the Burros without a change in leadership.

During the speech, which Lentz e-mailed to Patch after the meeting, Lentz spoke of the Meijer lot as "a practice facility for 2012 to alleviate scheduling congestion for practices with ."

Lentz on Thursday said the Meijer field was always only for practice, never for games. He said press reports saying the field would be used for games were the result of misunderstandings between reporters and the Burros' PR representative.

"That was never the intent," Lentz said on Thursday

However, five Burros parents contacted on Thursday said three different things: Two said the Burros told them the Meijer field was just for practice; two said they were told the field was for games; and one said she was told the field was back-up, in case the group couldn't come to terms with the park district.

All five had already committed their children to the Burros' 2012 season.

Different Parents, Different Stories

Burros parent Gerry Reyna said he was told at that games would be held at the Meijer lot.

"When I went for signups at the alumni registration, they had a big poster of the land and the layout of that," he said.

Parent Darlene Kruse said she was told the same.

"So far all I have been told is the Burros games are being held at the Route 30 location on Wolf (the rented 15 acres from Meijers)," she said.

Parent Julie Morlan said she was told that the lot would only be used for practice, never for games.

"The email said they would have practices at JCPenney but they weren’t sure where the games would be," Morlan said.

A parent who did not wish to be quoted said the same as Morlan.

Parent Pam Widule said she was told the Meijer lot was a "Plan B" in case the Burros and the park district couldn’t come to terms.

"If the contract's not signed, that's where we will be playing," she said.

Did Reporters Get it Wrong?

Lentz said reports in Patch, the SouthtownStar and the Joliet Herald-News saying games would be held at the field were due to miscommunication between reporters and Burros PR representative Lisa Gunggoll.

"I'm pretty sure her statements were made out of context," Lentz said.

In a March 2 email, Gunggoll responded to Patch's question "To clarify, will the space be used for practice, for games or for both?" by saying "As of now, we believe that this field will fulfill all our needs."

Gunggoll could not be reached by telephone for comment on Thursday.

Lentz said he read several of the articles, but did not correct them because he interpreted them as reporting that the fields would only be used for practice.

"I guess because I had the insight when I read those articles," he said.

Those articles included (Mokena Patch), "Burros football team finds new home field" (SouthtownStar) and a Joliet Herald-News editorial that included the line "We're glad that a good solution was found that allows the Burros to play at a newly leased home field."

Main Park or... Main Park

Whatever parents believed when they signed up, they are now committed to the Burros' 2012 season.

Lentz said there is no backup plan if the park district doesn't back down and let the Burros rent fields without changing leadership.

"At this point, I don't know if we've looked any further because I think we can work out our differences," Lentz said.

All five parents contacted for this story said they feel the Burros should be allowed to rent fields at Main Park.

Lentz said he was confident the season will materialize.

"One way or another we will be playing football in August, September and October," he said.

159 Parent March 31, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Well, Carole, parents who step up and help still have to hold jobs, maintain homes and religious commitments and deal with childrens "issues". This issue can't be easily summed up as "get in there and help". When you sign up for an activity you have to but a bit of faith in the people running it. Well both of the teams have people in charge with their own agenda. Believe me, I know these coaches are not perfect and I don't expect them to be but this level of corruption in a children's sport league is just disgusting. The abuse was not just about a kid "looking at ants". Even if the kid was, does that mean he should be called a MFer or another foul name or pushed around. How would you like to be humilated for your small mistakes or distractions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
carole March 31, 2012 at 03:23 PM
The problem is sam is there was no formal complaint and this has grown way out of proportion. If that is what happened I don't condone that but we are talking about apples and oranges here. There are some that are talking about the coach and there are others that are talking about being able to play in their tax supported fields. Two very different things. Contracts can contain many different things. It may just concern the concession stand etc. that is different than what they did last year. I can't imagine that the MPD lawyer would allow something in this contract that could libel someone that had not formally been accused. How about we all lawyer up and scrap all of the programs. Is that what you want. I wasn't there ...were you? This is called "hear say".
carole March 31, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Frank...how right you are! Thanks for having the nerve to say it!! Looking forward for more comments from your side...If you are a coach...you know the issues. If you are a nonparticipating parent you create the issues. If you are a participating parent you also know or have witnessed coaches,players, and parents. I do think this is giving the MPD a black eye in the way it was handled. There needs to be some damage control and soon. I am confident that they will be able to come to an agreement of some type. This Administrator is a professional, his main problem is that he has 2 board members with hidden agendas which is not good. They will never vote on any program without thinking how that would effect the JrG. That is never good on a board. I think they will resign knowing this. A professional person on a board knows this is a conflict.
carole March 31, 2012 at 04:18 PM
159 Parent, Yes,they do...we all do. The ones that coach are not without responsibility. They have jobs and families. They are not independently wealthy and do take time from their family to train your family member. There are parents that don't even attend practice. You never see them. My point is if you don't like what is going on...be part of the change. We don't need the weekly critique. Be part of the solution or don't put your child in any organization that you don't have time for. It is funny how the "chorus of complainers" never have time to help their OWN children! My respect goes to the Dad or Mom that offers their help to strengthen an organization. You might learn something...there are other jobs than coaching if that is not your strong point. The analogy about the ants was to demonstrate that their are other sports that have the same thing...maybe you are not there. Also...be soooo careful quoting what a child was called unless you saw it. You could be a witness. Did you hear with your own ears what the coach called the child...or is it "hear say"? Also yes of course both of these teams have their own agendas but 2 of the Jr. G are elected officials voting on football in the park.
disgusted parent March 31, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Carole you sound like an ass my child was on that team and he saw what happened and heard what was said so stop defending your husband. The fact still remains this forum is about how the burros lied to the parents about the field that they secured for the up coming season. Stop trying to change the subject. Stop bringing up the park district the jr griffins these people did not force the burros to lie to the parents. The burros need to take responsibility for their own actions period.
Rocky Ditka March 31, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Bottom line. The roughneck coach needs to step down, at least for one season. What he did was plain wrong. Imagine if the park district had no such policy to deal with such a horrendous attack. And that's what is was, an attack. This wild man would have gone on unscathed. Mr. Tough guy who likes to throws kids around be an adult at least for now. Back off and help these kids to secure the facilities they need. Are you really so selfish? Even if it's to late to rescue the situation by resigning it is still the right thing to do.
carole March 31, 2012 at 07:48 PM
disgusted parent,well my husband is not a coach,so let's not blame his wife for what I say. I am not trying to change the subject...it seems as if there is some confusion about what the subject is. Did you go and talk directly to the coach after this event was relayed to you from your son. Did you pull your son out? Did you file a complaint? It is good to know that your son was a witness to this because there are at least 7 variations of the story and what was said. Hmmmm I guess they are all true according to who saw them. If you don't like the Burro's don't have your son/daughter join. It is simple! But...disgusted parent the way you phrased your comment to me you are not surprised by many of the words used. In fact your child is used to it.
Rocky Ditka April 01, 2012 at 07:40 PM
The report that I received acknowledged the parent of the molested player filed a complaint with the park district. Mr. Roughneck coach be a man, don't act like the names you called the player that you manhandled, step down and get the conversation opened back up. Give the Burros their best chance to succeed.
carole April 01, 2012 at 08:48 PM
If you go back to the stories in the Patch the alleged abuse was never an issue. It was that the contract wasn't signed. As they said it was like all of the other sports teams that did sign. It is like a game of gossip. The abuse gets worse.The namecalling is several different names observed by several different people but no one pulled their child out and according to the Patch a formal complaint was never issued to the Burros. Interesting to me that this did not happen now...it happened last year but no action from the parents that are so fired now. We still haven't heard from the Administrator that that is why the contract isn't signed...have we?
Paul Dailing April 02, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Sorry about the delay in response. I've been out sick for the last few days. I tried to e-mail you to about this, but the message was bounced back saying the address wasn't valid. Please e-mail me at pauld@patch.com or call at 708-261-8247 and I can give you more details.
X Burros Guy April 03, 2012 at 02:24 AM
I love the blind passion of Burros defenders. But, the truth is the Burros completely screwed up everything. A couple of years ago Matt Hunniford (Burros Coach) forged George Mentanias' name on an insurance document at East. That incident ruined the Burros relationship with East. As a result, East severed it's relationship with the Burros. In addition, Matt Hunniford two years ago threatened to take his team away from the Burros if Jim Stewart (then AD) did not fire George Mentanias as the Varisty Head Coach. Last year, the Burros had two physical altercations. 1. Matt Hunniford pushed a child to the ground and yelled profanity at him. 2. Chip "the choker" Grabski President of the Burros grabbed and choked a child during the Burros Homecoming. Matt Hunniford never apologized and was never reprimanded. Chip "The Choker" Grabski was only suspended for 1 day. This year Mrs. Della Fave; Sal Della Fave (AD, Coach); Mrs Mary Pat Stewart; Jim Stewart (Board Member and former AD) all had shouting matched with several Park District officials in plain sight of children at the Oaks. The Burros have had various opportunities to play Main Park. All they had to do was to sign the original contract. They responded by submitting a redlined copy striking all references to removing Matt Hunniford as a Coach. The MPD then told the Burros to apologize for the recent actions of their Board. Too no avail.
X Burros Guy April 03, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Then the MPD told the Burros to remove their current Board and start over fresh. Instead of putting the children of the organization first they put their egos first. Many of the Parents on this site have vilified the MPD. To the Parents that cry about their taxes giving them carte blanche with the MPD. You're wrong. As a tax payer you have the right to use the parks anytime you chose. But, not a private organization that you happen to be involved with. In addition, there is no way that the Burros will be allowed to play in Mokena at least for this year. All of the time slots for the Mokena Parks have been filled in by other teams and sports. The Burros had their chance(s). They even lied to reporters in order to fill up their rosters. I believe that many folks signed up their kids based on the fact that the Burros stated they had a field. Joe Lenz (Burros President) stated that he read the so called misquotes but never corrected them. Why? I think that all this amounts to fraud. People should be entited to refunds.
Rocky Ditka April 03, 2012 at 03:22 AM
There is no justification for pushing, grabbing or physically handling any player. None at all. If X Burros Guy is accurate in his statements then those coaches have to go. It's like yelling fire in a movie theater. If you're not capable of dealing with these young players then you are not qualified to coach them. The rest is academic. This is where the problem started and dealing with it correctly is the only way to heal this wound. Coaches, YOU CAN NOT MANHANDLE THESE KIDS. You blew it, no one else. I'm willing to wager a healthy amount that dealing with these two incidents will go a long way in repairing the damage between the Burros and park district. Until then it just doesn't make any sense to beat on the park district. The ball is still in the Burros hands. If they do the right thing then the community will rally behind them. It's hard to accept that these coaches refuse to take the right steps in support of these kids. Go ahead and ask any of the players why they want to play football. Not any single one of them will answer "because I want to win". The same can't be said of the adults involved.
Pat Patrick April 03, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Choking a kid or throwing a kid to the ground is never acceptable. But this is no reason to penalize the entire organization. That includes cheerleading and flag football. As for the contract, why shouldent the Burros have a chance to make sure it was in their best intrest. The Park District had a clause stating it could at any time decide who could use it or not, this did not leave the burros in a great position. If you know as much as you seem to then you know that the Park District has never had a great relation ship with the Burros and treated them like a red headed step child.
Pat Patrick April 03, 2012 at 03:47 AM
If all the time slots have been filled it means the Park District never had a genuine intent to work with the Burros. Once again the park district making demands that the Burros remove the current board and start all over shows that the park district never had the genuine intent to resolve this issue. The entire board was not the problem.
carole April 03, 2012 at 01:27 PM
The plot thickens...did the altercation between the Burros and the MPD occur before the MPD commissioners decided to start their own league???? No yelling match should occur at ALL with elected officials involved. They should not participate and know better! I find it interesting "X Burros Guy" that you write under an alias but list other's exact names. Also your info about "East" ending their relationship with the Burros...where have you been the past 3 years as there have been many games at "East". Not exactly what I call a relationship severed! I guess you have been an "X" for many years. Somehow you don't see that the black eye is on the MPD to allow a shouting match to ensue. An exact reason why those on the MPD that are heading the JrG should resign since they have their hands full and need to spend their entire focus on this team if it is going to work. We should be able to have 2 functioning football leagues.
X Burros Guy April 03, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Unfortunately Pat, once again you're not clearly informed. After every discussion pertaining to the field usage contract, the Burros we're given time to discuss and sign. The time slots were never allocated prior to the explusion of the Burros. Check for yourself. You also stated that the Burros organization should not be punished for the acts of a few bad apples. The very organization that YOU defend has rallied around those BAD apples instead of removing them. Using you're own argument, knowing that the Burros are facing such dire straights (not having a home after 49 years) how do you not chose the organization over some very bad repeated adult behavior. In addition, what message are you sending the children of the Burros??? Only that very bad behavior should be rewarded amd defended. I applaud the MPD for defending the liabilty of the community.
Metro April 03, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I've witnessed coaches at all of the local youth football programs. I've seem many coaches get out of control and act in a similiar manner to what the coach on the Burros did yet, it's as if it never happened. In fact, the Falcons allowed a coach to come back after he engaged in much worse behavior...repeatedly. So don't believe that MPD is denying fields to the Burros out of a concern for kids. These kids are just political pawns in a grown up game of "power grab".
X Burros Guy April 03, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Carole or is that your real name? You state your name and I'll state mine. Btw, do you live in Mokena? Are you aware that the vey organization that you defend has been directed by people that have abandoned their fiduciary responsibilites. How and why did the Burros a couple of years ago spend $40,000 plus on field improvements at Main Park without a contract? That was one of the biggest bone head moves I have ever seen. How did the treasurer "Carole" not ask to have some protections in place for the organization? That "Carole" should be FIRED! Why did the Burros spend over $20,000 on cheer outfits before spending money on OLD football equipment? Yes, we all know that some of that money was raised through donations. But, how you in God's name do you not provide state of the art equipment to the boys that could be potentially diaabled from using old and mismatched football equipment??? BTW Carole, I didn't hear you complain when those very same Mjr Griff guys were on you're Board. Don't be hypocrite.
X Burros Guy April 03, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Oh I just forgot to answer another of "Carole's" issues pertaining to East. Anybody interested in what actually happened with Matt Hunniford and the FORGING incident.... just call Coach "Z" at East and he'll tell you exactly what happened. Also didn't coach Matt Hunniford and AD Sal Della Fave have another physical and verbal altercation with a Frankfort SQ Wildcats Coach last year in the parking lot. Please stop trying to defend the undefendable!
carole April 03, 2012 at 02:33 PM
I guess I expect more from my elected officials. Believe me there are other issues than football. I was pointing out that some of your facts do not ring true,therefore many of your statements are inaccurate and should be taken as that. I feel that it has nothing to do with who did what(so you say) but that the MPD should not be entering into this. It doesn't look good for them. It makes them look desperate for the Jr G. The two gentlemen that started the JrG just did that this year and if they made special allowances for the Burros then no they shouldn't have. We do have a lot of all talk and no action,he said she said.and finger pointing. If you don't want your child to play then don't. There are many other choices. You as a parent make a decision what is best for your child. You don't need to make empty accusations and justify your decision...just move on. But now"X Burros Guy" this is football not "tee ball".
Metro April 03, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I'm not defending anybody. If fields were taken away from every football youth program for incidents such as the Burros incident...football would not exist. So stop using that incident as an excuse to take the fields away. People that think an incident such as this has never happened in the 49 years that Burros have been around....I've got some swamp land for sale.
carole April 03, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Isn't that the truth? Metro
Metro April 03, 2012 at 03:20 PM
At least one similiar incident happened on (Falcons) this past year. Why do the Falcons still have a field?
ALREADY TIRED OF FOOTBALL April 03, 2012 at 08:46 PM
I THINK EVERYONE IS GETTING OFF THE POINT,THE BURROS LIED ABOUT NOT HAVING A SECURED FIELD FOR GAMES, SO THEY COULD KEEP THE FEW REMAINING PLAYERS THEY HAVE
X Burros Guy April 03, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Fraud! The Burros Lied!
Outsider April 03, 2012 at 10:31 PM
There was no similar incident with the Falcons last year. I know I was there. If anything happened with the Falcons like it did the Burros I wouldn’t be there.
Pat Patrick April 05, 2012 at 02:16 AM
X Burro Guy the contract the Park District gave to the Burros was a joke, It gave the Hitleresk Park ultimate power and offered the Burros a shower. Also 2 bad acts of adult behavior does not make an organization a danger to the community. Also the acts of the two people involved did have sanctions imposed. As for sending a message to the kids, your kids will take on your message. What happened here is long gone in the kids minds. It is the egos of the adults driving this issue. Several adults from the Mokena Park District and the Burros board got into it, big deal, grow up and move on. But NO the Park District is abusing their power and taking it out on ALL THE KIDS by excluding the Burros from the field.
DR- Mokena April 06, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Stop the comments and Happy Easter to all.
Former burros coach April 19, 2012 at 11:40 PM
I was a coach and board member for 10 years, and all I can say is that this is disgusting. Why don't you people leave Mokena, and let it return to the decent, friendly town it used to be? You all make me sick.

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