The DeKalb County School District is allowing the head coach of Chamblee Charter High School's varsity football team to return to work after an investigation that apparently was sparked by a controversial shirt he gave to players.
The news came as more than 100 students walked out of class in support of Coach Curtis Mattair.
The controversy stemmed from the letters 'DBNP' on practice shirts supplied to the football team. Team member Kenneth Howard explained that the coach told the players to interpret the letters how they want and that it was meant to be motivational.
“It could mean anything. It could mean, ‘Do better next play,’ ‘Don’t be no punk,’ ‘Don’t be no -- anything,'" Kenneth said.
It was the players, Kenneth said, who decided to make it an acronym for “Don’t be no – p****' (a crude word for ‘wimp.’)
“He didn’t tell us that’s what it means. That’s what we took it as," said Kenneth. "We’re a football team. We’re boys. We curse in practice. We curse in the games.”
“I feel boys will be boys,” said Kenneth's mom Lonyea Howard, "not that it’s okay because the word is pretty disgusting, but if that’s something some young kids made it into, I don’t think it should be any harm as far as the coach is concerned.”
In the middle of the walkout, the school district announced publicly that the investigation was over and that Coach Mattair would return to work as normal Friday with no disruption to his pay. District officials would not reveal details of its investigation of Mattair; nor would they confirm that it was related to the t-shirt controversy.
The news came as a relief for those who say Mattair is a mentor on and off the field.
“He’s been a father figure to me for three years," said Kenneth.
“He makes sure they get their work done, everything’s okay at home," said his mom.
CBS46 has learned the students will not be disciplined because of the walkout and that the players will get to participate in Friday night's game against Dunwoody High.
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