Today is Friday, August 18, 2017

Two disturbing incidents

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Joe Biddle

The NFL has had its share of players who have broken the law. Some have served jail time for murder, domestic abuse, using and selling drugs.
    
College football has similar problems. Four Notre Dame football players face expulsion from the program and the school for academic cheating.
    
College players have been arrested at an alarming rate. Four Vanderbilt football players were allegedly involved in a rape of a 21-year-old Vanderbilt co-ed last summer. If it comes to trial, the alleged details will be alarming.
    
That’s Notre Dame and Vanderbilt, schools that have had squeaky clean records when it comes to their athletes. Just imagine what is happening at some other schools.
    
That leaves high school sports as the only surviving pure sports venue, right? No. The trickle down theory is alive and well in high school sports.
    
I find two incidents deeply disturbing.
    
Why were two Murfreesboro football teams playing each other Sunday afternoon? Blackman and Oakland played on the only day of the week that should be off limits. Why? They had their game televised on ESPN2. Shame on you, ESPN2.
    
The temperature was in the 90s Sunday. The humidity was high. Players were being treated for cramps during the game. School officials monitored the heat index during the game. They assured all it never reached 100, because TSSAA rules make players leave the field when it hits 105.
    
Why not play at night? ESPN. Television rules pro, college and now high school football.
    
In Hoover, Ala., Hoover High played Miami Central Saturday at 11 a.m. (CDT). They are two highly ranked national teams. Hoover was No. 7. Miami Central was No. 8 going into the game won by Miami Central, 24-21.
    
Here’s the story that makes me sick to my stomach. At a time when they have been rioting for days in Ferguson, Missouri, some imbecile racist sent Miami Central Coach Roland Smith a letter.
    
Smith received it the day before his team was to travel to Alabama, a state still plagued by nut-cases casting a dark shadow over the majority of good, decent citizens.
    
The envelope had printed on it, “You f-bomb N-word." That’s the family version. It was postmarked in Birmingham.
    
In the contents of the letter, well, I’ll let Miami Central alumni president, William D.C. Clark enlighten you.
    
“It said to remind our fans to pick up their chicken bones and red cups on your way back to Miami after we beat your ass. It was filled with expletives," Clark said. “It may not be how most Hoover fans think. But this is Alabama. And we’re constantly reminded we are in Alabama with Confederate flags, salutes to George Wallace and that old dirty low-down South many of our parents had to endure in the 1960s. We don’t take that threat or that tone very lightly."
    
Clark emphasized he doesn’t believe the letter is representative of Hoover’s fan base.
    
So what if it isn’t representative of the majority? It only takes one racist rabble-rouser to broad-brush an entire state.
    
There were no incidents before, during or after the game.
    
What is this world coming to? High school football programs are selling their souls just to get on ESPN? Schools are subjecting their players to play on Sunday in dangerous temperatures. For TV?
    
Who are the adults making these decisions? What are they thinking? Where are the priorities to protect our youth?
    
C’mon, people. Use your brains. If you have any left.
    
Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle11@gmail.com. 

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