A high-ranking Democratic senator on Thursday called on the Esquire Network to cancel “Friday Night Tykes,” saying the show glorifies a culture of violent competitiveness.
The show has already spawned controversy over coaches shown in episodes instructing their eight — and nine-year-old players to play violently or engage in bad behavior.
Now Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, is asking that the show be pulled from the network over safety concerns.
“For the sake of America’s youth athletes, I call on you to immediately end this shameful, dangerous display on your network,” he said in a letter to the netowrk. “With all we know about the risks of concussions in youth sports today, it is unconscionable to televise and celebrate the conduct of a league that directly endangers the health of children.”
The program followed a handful of Texas youth football teams through their season.
Messages seeking comment from Esquire Network weren’t immediately returned.
In a separate letter to the NCAA, which governs major college sports, Mr. Durbin asked for an association-wide policy requiring schools to sit out players that show any signs of concussions.