Over this past weekend, Saugus (Mass.) head football coach Anthony Nalen had been suspended while authorities investigated claims that some of his players practiced while wearing only underwear. Those claims were originally reported to Saugus officials by the parent of a player, and investigations were made to determine if the practices constitute some form of hazing.
Nalen was not on the sidelines for the Sachems’ season-opening loss Friday night to Amesbury. But Tuesday night, Nalen told the Boston Herald that he has been cleared of the allegations and will be returning to the sideline.
Through his attorney, Mike Castrano, Nalen issued a lengthy statement to the Herald professing his innocence, which in part included:
“The administration falsely claimed that I couldn’t be reinstated until the “independent” investigation was complete. I voluntarily went to the police station and gave a complete recorded statement. I also brought videotapes and pictures of the practice in question. These videos and pictures conclusively show that there is no player out on the field that looks like they are in their underwear and they further show there was no hazing taking place. The Saugus police have cleared my good name and I thank them for doing a thorough investigation.
“I would like everyone to go back to focusing on the kids like we should have been doing for the last four weeks. I promise that my staff will continue striving to make this a successful and enjoyable football season.”
Earlier in the week, nearly three dozen Saugus football players skipped practice and marched downtown to the school administration building demanding their coach be reiinstated, carrying hand-made signs with phrases such as “We Want Answers” and “Bring our football coach back”.