H.S. Football in the Era of Craziness

Chances are you have seen the viral video. A little over a week ago, Linden High School was playing Immaculata High School. A Linden High School player, allegedly or apparently, ripped the helmet off of an Immaculata player and slammed the Immaculata player with his own helmet causing a gash that required 10 stiches.

Linden H.S.The student who was injured was taken to the hospital and the Linden student who ripped off the helmet was allowed to continue the game. However following the incident, the Linden Superintendent of Schools suspended the 18 year-old Linden football player for 10 days and kicked him off the team. The officials at the Catholic high school took the video to the police after a parent complained. The assault is now being reviewed by the authorities.

In the latest wrinkle, the family of the suspended player went public on September 17, 2015, proclaiming the other player was cheating and that the alleged ripping of the helmet was just an accident.

Meanwhile, the racial overtones of the case in this era of craziness and stupidity have escalated. Immaculata is being showcased as “a very powerful, very prestigious school with a lot of influence.” What influence, I would not know.

The family has also pointed to an “over-zealous opportunist” from Immaculata who had a vendetta against the Linden player.

The family made the following statement at a public meeting:

“They have thrown this young man and his family under the bus. We are not savages. He is not being raised by gorillas in the jungle. This is a good young man raised by a good family.”

You know what? I believe them. I have no reason to believe they are not good people.

I also believe the other kid’s helmet was ripped off and he was intentionally smacked with it and I also believe that as reported, racial epithets were thrown around by both teams. I mostly believe this entire incident should have and could have been avoided.

Who was in control, and why not?

Administrators, coaches, officials and parents need to be reminded of something, even in this era of hypersensitivity – adults need to be adults. Adults need to be positive role models. Coaches need to be a positive influence on their players.

If racial epithets were being hurled by both teams, as was reported, my guess is that an adult in the form of an official heard the slurs. According to the accounts, the players for neither team were “bothered” by the slurs, which brings up a whole other issue for another time.

In any case, when the slurs were flying, an official’s time out could have been called. Coaches for both teams could have been advised that flags for unsportsmanlike conduct would be thrown with reckless abandon. In turn, the coaches and their assistant coaches could have stepped in and told their kids to “dial it back.” Apparently, no one did. One or two flags thrown could have stopped the racial trash talk in its tracks.

These are kids. Yes, they are often “big teenaged males,” but that doesn’t automatically translate into grown “men.” This is a point I have repeatedly made.

How or why the player was allowed to continue playing after seemingly ripping the other player’s helmet off and smacking him with it, defies all logic. You can look at that video a thousand times and still come to the same conclusion. It was a stupid, heated act in a moment of heated emotions. Again, it could have ended there and then. Sit the young man down for the rest of the game. Sit him down for three games.

In my opinion, he did not have to be suspended, he should have been made to apologize to the other player for his stupid actions. That is “old school,” I know, but back in the day people used to apologize to one another; not through Twitter, but face-to-face.

As for the parents on both sides of this issue, not everything your kids are involved in needs your protection or your escalation or your damned helicopter.

Why the “authorities” are reviewing this case defies all logic as well. Is it really worth it to drag a young man into a court of law for an idiotic act committed on a high school football field? What is to be gained? No press conferences needed to be held and no “outraged” parent needed to march the video to the police.

Ethically, this case is about a breakdown in good decision-making and beyond that, a failure of adults all of the way around to take responsible actions. All of it could have been avoided through good ethics, strong officiating and responsible coaching.


By the way…just want to say that I’m creating a videoblog that will be available soon.  I’m putting past editions on a memory stick and got a great deal from https://www.usbmemorydirect.com/ – highly recommend them!







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Chuck Gallagher
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