I want to talk about keeping our young athletes safe from sexual predators.
This week audio surfaced of one of the most notorious private coaches in the country making inappropriate remarks to a young girl. He seemed to be asking her to go to the movies, and rebuking her for saying no.
That coach was Chris Flores, who also goes by Coach Frogg.
Coach Frogg was the co-founder of Stars Academy, and the co-founder of Levels Sports Group– an arrangement that allowed him to train some of the most elite young athletes in California, and then move them into a business relationship to help them secure Name, Image and Likeness deals. He was a well connected individual, and the key word here is ‘was.’
Coach Frogg went from throwing sessions with Patrick Mahomes, and hanging out in Tuscaloosa with Nick Saban, to getting booked on multiple counts of sexual assault of a minor.
He went from having a stable of prep, college and NFL clients, including some of the top ranked players in this year’s graduating class, and the defending Heisman and Biletnikoff winners, to having his mugshot spread nationwide.
The man has thrown away more than can fit in a dumpster.
Police are saying they expect multiple additional victims to come forward, and if you’ve been following the case as it unfolds, you know that Coach Frogg is no stranger to accusations of impropriety within the California youth sports community.
Every time something like this happens, communities come together in shock. They grieve for the victims, and then re-litigate what could have been done to prevent the tragedy of having a disgusting evil loser prey on their children’s aspirations, and rob them of their innocence.
You always hear people say “I never expected this in my community,” but at this point, why shouldn’t you? If you Googled “Coach arrested” this week to get information about the Chris Flores case, you would have had to sort through stories in Indiana, Montana, Florida, Pennsylvania and Colorado just to get to this one.
Look, Not only am I a father, I’m a father of several kids playing youth sports at a high level right here in California. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always know the best way to challenge or support my kids in their athletic pursuits.
I do know that I was taught that better competition means better results, so it makes complete sense to me that there’s an Academy where the best of the best can sharpen each other’s skills. And as long as it’s what your kid wants to do, and as long as it’s not taking away from their time to be a kid, I’m not going to tell another parent that they’re in the wrong.
But I do want parents of young athletes to take a moment to examine their hearts, and ask themselves if their motives might create an opportunity for blind spots when it comes to having people with bad intent around their children.
We’re all smart enough to tell our kids not to take candy from a stranger with a windowless van, but if that candy is stars or scholarships or NIL money, some of us will pick up our kids and throw them into the van ourselves.
Listen up, moms and dads- As long as your kids have you, they’re going to be just fine. A private coach can help skill development and open doors, but they’re not the golden ticket- you are.
Too many parents look at the time and resources they put into their kids’ athletic success as an investment. Your child isn’t an IRA. Time and money spent on a child is a sunk cost, not an investment.
Your satisfaction with your child, or their experience, should never be dependent on what you get back for the time, money, or energy you put behind them.
We all know people that lost big money by trying to come up on risky investments. Maybe they took that risk because they could afford it. Maybe they took that risk because they didn’t want to be left out of a gold rush. But when they lose, there’s always a moment where the warning signs along the way come into focus. It’s one thing to have regret about your portfolio- it’s another when that regret comes at the expense of the safety of your flesh and blood.
People are willing to ignore that a guy like Coach Frogg is out here like a 1990’s Puff Daddy dancing in his artist’s videos, as equally devoted to his own personal branding as he is the success of his clients, because they don’t want to be left behind.
People are willing to ignore the impropriety of a 37-year-old man making TikToks with middle school girls, because they don’t want to be left behind.
People are willing to let their daughters have unmonitored phone conversations with an adult male coach, because they don’t want to be left behind.
You never know when your kids’ playing days are going to end, but trust me on this- they will end. Your sons and daughters are going to be much better off in the long run without you ignoring your gut to keep up with the Joneses because you want a good return on your investment.
Remind yourself, and your kids, that their worth to you isn’t dependent on what they accomplish. And for God’s sake, be their parent above trying to be their friend. Stay in their business. Monitor who they talk to and where they go. Don’t be afraid to outline your expectations directly with their school, their coach, or their friend group, or the other parents so that the village raising the children can be on the same page.
Is it comfortable to have a conversation with your kid or their coach about what is and is not appropriate? Hell no. But if you’re in a situation to have a private coach, you’ve already indicated to your kids that you expect them to leave comfort behind for the sake of growth. The least you could do is get uncomfortable along with them.
Let that sink in.