Micah Grimes gets fired
My guess is, the next step in the Dallas Academy saga is Grimes suing Covenant of Dallas, where he coached until today. From the Dallas Morning News:
The Covenant School fired its girls’ basketball coach Sunday, the same day he distributed an e-mail and posted on a Web site that he disagreed with the school’s headmaster as well as the school’s chairman of the board, who have publicly apologized for Covenant’s 100-0 victory over Dallas Academy.
Kyle Queal, Covenant’s head of school, said former coach Micah Grimes “now only represents himself.” Queal said he could not answer if the firing was a direct result of his e-mail and posting.
Grimes’ e-mail and posting said, “In response to the statement posted on The Covenant School Web site, I do not agree with the apology or the notion that the Covenant School girls’ basketball team should feel embarrassed or ashamed,” Micah Grimes wrote in an email sent to The Dallas Morning News. “We played the game as it was meant to be played. My values and my beliefs would not allow me to run up the score on any opponent, and it will not allow me to apologize for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honor and integrity.”
I’m looking for the personal web site. I will link to it once I find it. Here it is.)
So let’s review what turned an otherwise nondescript small, private high school girls’ basketball game into the latest referendum to where you stand on sportsmanship, youth athletics and what it means to be an American.
Jan. 13: Covenant School of Dallas beats Dallas Academy 100-0.
Jan. 22: The Dallas Morning News posts a story about the game, which gets almost instantaneous reaction from keyboard tappers around the world such as myself. Later that day, Covenant posts a note offering to forfeit the game. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban invites the Academy team to American Airlines Arena for an NBA game.
(NOTE: I emailed Morning News reporter Barry Horn tonight about how he was tipped off to this story. He said he read his paper’s own box score the morning after the game and made calls when he got back to work that Monday, Jan. 19. Horn doesn’t cover high school sports, but he “had seen Dallas Academy play this season and I had seen Covenant in the past.” He added, “I have always contended that the best stories in the newspaper come out of the agate or the briefs.” Oh yeah.)
Jan. 24: Covenant coach Micah Grimes sends an email and posts to a web site (not Covenant’s) that he disagrees with his school’s decision. Later that day, Covenant fires him.
I’ll bet you were expecting a picture of Donald Trump.
Grimes seemed to know the guillotine was about to drop. From the Morning News:
Grimes did not immediately respond to repeated email requests for an interview. But his email and Web site post concluded, “I believe in the lessons that sports teach us. Competition builds character, and teaches us to value selflessness, hard work, and perseverance. As a coach, I have instilled in my girls these values. So if I loose my job over these statements, I will walk away with my integrity.”
Not if you spell “lose” with two o’s, you won’t.
Grimes, until Jan. 22 an unknown coach at an unknown school, is now an international lighting rod. (Horn noted in the story on Grimes’ firing that the original story got 665,000 page views, “an enormous number for a story on a local private school girls’ basketball game.” The previous quote was an example of extreme fucking understatement.) Either you support Grimes because, hey, what can you do when your team is that much better, or you want to tar and feather him for apparently keeping a press defense on for most of the game, thus allowing many, many backcourt steals and easy layups.
However, as President Obama would say, ahhhhh, let’s be clear here. No matter what Covenant says, Micah Grimes was not fired for running up the score. If so, he would have been fired after running over Waxahachie Prep 77-27, or crushing Irving North Hills 71-19. I’m guessing Terrell’s coach wasn’t fired after beating Covenant 79-33.
That the score had the potential to be 100-0 was not shocking, given that Waxahachie Prep had beaten Dallas Academy 66-4. Dallas Academy’s other losses, at least the ones I know of, were 66-4 and 49-7. (The team had two games scheduled between Covenant and Grimes’ firing, and I’m looking for those scores.) Should those coaches have been fired, too?
Girls basketball at the high school level, nearly four decades into Title IX, is still an area chock-full of blowouts, because some schools seem to have the funding or wherewithal to take it seriously, while others for some reason do not. Of course, nobody had nice, round numbers like 100 and 0 in their scores, so those other stompings aren’t newsworthy.
Also, that Dallas Academy is a school for special-needs students figures into that mix, too. Although lost in translation was that the school is not a special-education school in the way you usually think of it; it’s for kids with learning disabilities such as ADD and dyslexia, and it has had legitimate athletic success in other sports. Comparing the beatdown to Matt Dillon running down retarded kids in “There’s Something About Mary,” as a Chicago radio talk show host I once taught at Columbia College did on the air Friday, was not accurate, and made the school and coach look worse than they would have otherwise, which is an accomplishment. (By the way, in Grimes’ rebuttal on his own site, flightbasketball.com, he quotes an unidentified players on his team: “I have ADD and ADHD. There is nothing that separates me from anyone on the Dallas Academy girls team, so there is nothing that should separate the value of our sides.”)
Carmen, is this revenge on me because I made you cover dance?
I’m not faulting Horn for his stories. I’m faulting Covenant for folding so quickly and obviously. If the administration thought Grimes was a good man when his team won 77-27, why was he a bad man at 100-0? Oh yeah, because the school’s good name was being slagged all around the world. I don’t know Grimes, and I don’t know whether he was trying to run it up. However, I don’t blame him for going down fighting. If Grimes hasn’t found a lawyer already, I’m sure one (or many) is finding him.