Kendric Barfield, a former high school and junior college football player, has coached his 8-year-old son Kaleb, for years. "You try to do everything you can to toughen a kid up," he said.
So when Esquire's new docu-series "Friday Night Tykes" debuted Tuesday night, they watched every minute together and loved it. "We was like that's Texas football right there, from coaching to discipline to strong character," said Barfield.
Taking viewers behind the scenes of the Texas Youth Football Association in San Antonio, the coaches scream, use foul language and push 8 and 9-year-old children to the limit in the Texas heat. "You have to be able to take the pressure because for one you want these kids to get what they deserve, you want these kids to see, I got pushed, but in the end, I get the championship in my hand."
But many disagree with Barfield, who is not affiliated with TYFA. The governing body of youth football in America, USA Football, says the show is in "sharp contrast" with their "core values" and more work needs to be done with coaches. The NFL calls it "troubling."
"I was disgusted, I was upset that was allowed," said Tomie Villanueva, commissioner of the Cypress Tigers and part of TYFA's 15-hundred player Houston Chapter. "It was hard to watch that because of what they were trying to promote, as a coach you gotta have values. To me coaching is special," he said.
Villanueva thinks the show gives not only the league, but also Texas football as a whole a black eye. "That's not how you coach, that's now how you carry yourself," said Villanueva.
Now the Cypress Tigers are re-thinking their membership with TYFA and want some disciplinary action taken against the coaches in the series.
The CEO of TYFA, Brian Morgan, told USA Today "In Texas it's going to be perceived very well," he said of his league. "Outside Texas, where football is not king, those people are going to be taken aback by some of the kids out there exercising in 100 degrees heat, how the fans are fanatical like it's an NFL game and by some of the coaches and the coaches' tactics."