Co-Founder of New Bedford Pop Warner Team Receiving Backlash Over Sharik Mendes Comments
The co-founder of the New Bedford Bears Pop Warner football team says she's being raked over the coals because of a Standard Times article where she gave comments on Sharik Mendes.
Mendes, a New Bedford resident and owner of H.E.A.R.T. Boxing Gym, is facing charges related to providing heroin to a local drug dealer, and Boston's U.S. District Court has given him preliminary approval to coach the team.
Bunny Conceicao, co-founder of the New Bedford Bears with her husband, Daniel, commented to the Standard Times on Mendes' character and positive interaction with the children during his two-year tenure as a coach on Tuesday, before Thursday's decision by the U.S. District Court.
Conceicao tells WBSM News readers of the Standard Times article have gotten the wrong impression, and that she hasn't made up her mind whether Mendes can return. "I'm just so distraught and upset with what's happening with me, as an individual, over this," lamented Conceicao. On whether Mendes will return as a coach, Conceicao says, "I can't answer right now. I don't want to say anything, talk with anybody. Because I'm the one that's being torn down here. And it's not fair to me."
A commenter on Southcoasttoday.com said of Mendes, "with all those convictions and the pending federal charges, he has no business being around kids - he is not a role model." A reader on the Standard Times' Facebook page wrote, "Shame on you Bunny! Reconsider this decision!"
Conceicao says her first priority is the reputation of the organization and tells WBSM News, "We won't have anybody ruin that." Conceicao says she will discuss the matter with her husband before making a final decision.
Mendes is expected to plead guilty to the charges after he waived his right to an indictment. A plea hearing is scheduled for September 13 at U.S. District Court in Boston.