The father of the 12-year-old Dillon girl seen pushed to the court by a Stevensville girls’ basketball player on a Youtube video doesn’t think the punishment handed down was enough.
“There was no discipline at all,” Todd Rouse said Tuesday.
Rouse’s daughter was pushed by Stevensville’s Baylee Bergman as she celebrated after the Beavers’
Feb. 25 upset win over the Yellowjackets in the Southwestern A Divisional championship game in Dillon.
Bergman was stripped of being a captain and benched for the first quarter of last Tuesday’s challenge game against Butte Central in Anaconda.
Bergman played during the final three quarters of the game won by the Maroons, qualifying the defending champions for the this week’s Class A State tournament at the Civic Center.
“In the course of a ball game, your starters are going to sit eight minutes anyway,” Rouse said. “We felt that we were very understanding and didn’t push the issue. But we were under the impression that discipline would be pretty severe at the school. When we found out she played three quarters of basketball, that was upsetting.”
The push came as many in the large Dillon crowd stormed the court — despite warnings from the public address announcer not to — after the stunning win.
Rouse’s daughter was jumping up and down in celebration not far from the Stevensville bench before she was pushed into the legs of another Stevensville player. The girl is then shown walking away from celebration holding her face.
The video was viewed more than 8,000 times on Youtube before it was taken down last Monday night.
Rouse said he talked to Stevensville principal Brain Gum the day before the game and was under the impression the punishment would be greater.
“I said ‘I expect you’re going to take disciplinary actions against her,’” Rouse said. “He said, ‘Oh yeah, we’re working on it right now.’”
Gum did not return a message seeking comment for this story.
“What did they teach the kids at Stevensville and the rest of the state? Absolutely nothing,” Rouse said. “They taught them they can push a girl to the ground and get away with less than a slap on the wrist.”
Rouse also disputed the accuracy of comments made by Stevensville coach Brandon Day in a story that ran in last Wednesday’s Montana Standard.
Day indicated that Bergman called and apologized to the 12-year-old girl and her family before the video was put on the internet.
Rouse, who left the gym after the game thinking his daughter’s fall was an accident, said the video was brought to his attention between 8:30 and 9 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26.
That is when Rouse realized his daughter was pushed.
Rouse said he called Day to tell him about the video and sent him a link via e-mail.
“I told him ‘You have to look at this video. It’s going to go viral,’” Rouse said. “We didn’t get a phone call from Baylee until 9 o’clock Sunday night.
“I know darn well that girl was told to make that phone call, and she was coached on what to say.”
Rouse said he and his family accepted the apology from Bergman and the school.
However, he said he didn’t tell the player to “go get ’em,” as the Day said.
Rouse said he doesn’t want people to think he was cheering against Butte Central in the challenge game.
“What we said was ‘good luck with the rest of the season,’” Rouse said.
Rouse said he decided to not press charges, even though he was approached by the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Department and told that was an option.
Rouse said he simply wishes the school would have done more.
He said he found out Bergman played in the game via text messages from friends who were at the game.
“It saddens me,” he said. “It’s disheartening. I feel like my good nature has been taken advantage of.”