NCCU coach mentors kids about bullying
After the referee tosses the ball in the air next week as N.C. Central gets going in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament in Norfolk, Coach LeVelle Moton will look for Eagles big man Jay Copeland Jr. to be real mean down there on the low block.
In other words, Moton needs Copeland to be a bully.
The coach will expect all of his guys to be mean like that - within the parameters of the game, obviously.
But that's where it must stop, because, Moton would tell you, bullying has no place elsewhere.
"The first thing I do every day is read the news and look at the paper, and it's tragic, especially when you become a parent, how kids are becoming victims and succumbing to violence, whether it's through guns or just bullying, and they're committing suicide and things of that nature," Moton said after NCCU beat S.C. State on Monday.
Bullying is not just the physical stuff of stolen lunch money and knuckle sandwiches, but also name calling that can hurt as much as the damage done with sticks and stones, according to some experts.
Before NCCU's game on Monday, Moton teamed up with Miss North Carolina USA, Ashley Mills, and showed some love to a solid lineup of around 100 Durham Public Schools kids who joined them on the court to demonstrate what an über zone defense against bullying might look like.
Mills was making a return visit to Durham, where last week she launched her anti-bullying tour at several schools.
Moton, raised by a single mother in housing projects in Boston and Raleigh, is the anti-bullying spokesman for DPS.
"Where I'm from, it's a little different, because you're taught to meet aggression with aggression," Moton said. "You've got to meet aggression with aggression and let people know that you don't mind having a problem with a problem. As a grown man, that wasn't the proper way."
The school ideals at NCCU pertain to truth and service, and Moton said that's what he's up to when he's walking down those DPS hallways on the way to teach students creative ways to beat up bullying.
DPS athletics director Larry McDonald said Moton being who he is makes a difference here.
"When you have LeVelle Moton or someone of his stature to talk about how important it is not to bully somebody, I think the kids will listen," McDonald said. "It would be the same as if Mike Krzyzewski or Roy Williams came out. These are folks that have prominent status because of athletics, and they're saying bullying is not the way to go."