Coach Carter: John

Coach Carter: John
Does winning on the court or field mean failing in the classroom?
"My 13-year-old son is convinced that he's going to be a famous football star," says Toni. "I think that John needs to spend less time obsessing over football and more time thinking about completing his school assignments ... I keep saying, 'Have you heard of eligibility? If you have Fs, you're not going to play.' When John is with his friends, he talks a lot about how he's going to be just like Terrell Owens. He's even starting to practice writing his signature because he's getting ready for his fabulous career ... I don't have a problem with John being interested in sports, but it has a place. I could care less about Terrell Owens or the Eagles when I'm looking at his report card."

"I am obsessed with football," admits John, who's nickname is Lil' T.O. after his idol, Terrell Owens. "My dream is to be an NFL wide receiver and win a Super Bowl. This past semester I ended up with two Fs. I failed social studies and English. I know that grades are important, but sometimes the classes bore me. There is no doubt in my mind that I'm going to make it to the pros. I'm a student of the game."

John's father was a great high school football player. "It does run in my blood. Pumpin' in my veins!" says John. "If somebody tells me I'm not going to make it, I'll say, 'That's what you think!'"

Toni turns to Dr. Phil: "How can I get my son to focus on academics first and sports second?"
"If you were really good and you got a scholarship offer, do you realize with Fs in social studies and English you couldn't go if they wanted you to go?" Dr. Phil asks John.

"Yes, sir. I understand that grades are important," says John.

"Do you have a job?" Samuel L. Jackson wants to know.

"No, sir."

"How do you get money? You ask your mom for money?"


Jackson asks Toni if John has to get certain grades in order to get money or certain privileges.

"Yes, I'd like him to have the grades that he's capable of achieving, which is pretty much all As," she says.
Jackson says that that's the way it was in his house when he was a kid. "I didn't have a job. My job was going to school. In order to earn my allowance, I had to prove I did my homework and I had to show them a decent grade." But that wasn't his only incentive. He wanted to make his parents proud. "When people have expectations of you, you want to make them proud. Because these are the character-building things," he says.

He also wants John to recognize the difference between people who work hard and go after what they want and people who don't. "Those people are going to be in the same places where you left them — if you make it to be a pro football player — when you come back. I guarantee it," says Jackson.
When Dr. Phil points out the inconsistancies of Toni's discipline, she explains that sometimes she just doesn't feel like fighting with her son.

"You're the mom here," says Dr. Phil. "It is your job to blaze the trail and teach him to respect himself and to hold himself to a higher standard. You've got to find some strength here to do this. See, I think we really cheat kids if we don't teach them how the world really works ... If he doesn't do the work in college, they will kick him out. If he doesn't do the work on his job, they will kick him out ... I want you to leave hearing us tell you you are right to hold his feet to the fire on those grades. And find out what his currency is. And if he wants to lie to you about homework, you need to catch him, you need to confront him and you need to consequate him."
Donovan McNab, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, has a message for John: "What's up John. It's good to hear that you're a great athlete and you're doing wonderful things, but always remember, you always have to have something to fall back on and education is the first thing."

Dr. Phil surprises both John and Jordan. "We know your sports idols are Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Terrell Owens of the Philadelphia Eagles. I've got good news. If and when those grades get up to passing, we're going to give you a chance to meet them and their teammates. You'll get to mix and mingle and see what being a pro athelete is all about."

In the meantime, both teens get their favorite team's jacket and jersey.

"Now, did you hear what the deal is? You get your grades up to passing, we're going to fly you and your mom to go meet with [Kevin and Terrell] and hang out with the teams. Grades don't go up, you get a jacket," says Dr. Phil.

Jackson suggests that the moms hold onto the clothing until they get their grades up and are headed to meet their sports idols.