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Maryland school calls unsportsmanlike conduct, cancels football season

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unsportsmanlike-conductI hope you didn’t buy any advance-sale tickets to the last two Crossland High football games, because they’re not gonna be played.

The Prince George’s County, Md., school canceled the remainder of its football season and fired coach Eric Knight (though he’s still athletic director) for what it called unsportsmanlike conduct in a series of games.

From the Washington, DC, local Fox affiliate:

There’s a firestorm of controversy surrounding why a Maryland high school football team cancelled the remainder of its season. Crossland High School says it was due to unsportsmanlike behavior at several games, but now FOX 5 has learned it involved much more.

Events after the [Oct. 24 Potomac] game even escalated to involve Prince George’s County Sheriff’s deputies getting into a physical altercation with a player, and then using pepper spray on a crowd of players. One of the suspended players is crying foul over the cancelled season and why he was suspended.

The school is revealing little about what led to the cancellation of the school’s final two games, but FOX 5 has learned its what happened after the game that led to one arrest, the expulsion of four students, and the removal of the head coach.

The game against Potomac, where Knight coached successfully for 15 years before taking the Crossland job before last season, had become an annual tradition of Crossland gets its ass kicked, which degenerated into general ass-kicking. Because of fights on the field, last year’s game ended in the third quarter with Potomac up 42-0. This year, the game made it into the fourth quarter with Potomac up 53-0 before the game had to be called because of fighting.

The parents and players, as you might imagine, aren’t taking this well.

More from Fox in D.C., which interviewed four players who returned to school Nov. 2 after serving a 10-day suspension, as well as Crossland football parents who met that day with the school:

Darlene Trather’s son wasn’t even suspended, and she believes the school overreacted.

“Since when is football nice? What do you want them to be, cheerleaders? It is a football team– it is knocking, pushing, shoving,” says Trather.

The players and their parents met with school officials Monday to air their concerns that the punishment is excessive.

“I don’t think they have done a thorough investigation. I think that some of these students have been wrongly accused,” said parent Adora Stevenson.

But the problems and altercations did not end on the field. According to a Prince George’s County Sheriff’s spokesperson, after the game a Crossland player threw a helmet at the Potomac bus, leading sheriff’s deputies to spray several Crossland players with pepper spray and grab a player.

“The cops had choked me, grabbed me by the neck and was choking me and telling me to calm down, and I’m telling them I’m calm. Then I was held against the fence, then all I heard was mace. I was maced in my eyes and couldn’t see nothing,” said suspended player Kharan Wallace.

And parents at Crossland still want a better explanation from the principal.

The principal of Crossland High School would not comment further on the incident or the suspension. The parents say they have not received a proper explanation of what happened and plan to appeal to the superintendent of schools

“This is definitely not over– definitely not,” said parent Star Tuaauli.

Uh-oh. It sounds like another ass-kicking is coming.

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Written by rkcookjr

November 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I actually officiated one of their games. Well, I worked the clock at their homecoming game, which I think was one or two weeks before the events that led to this.

    The officials and I were talking after the game and one of them said their coach was doing little or nothing to stop a lot of cheap smack from happening. It didn’t surprise me when I saw this.

    forevertown

    November 4, 2009 at 6:58 pm

  2. Thanks for the insight. One thread I see in cases where teams start fighting is that the coach hasn’t made it abundantly clear that he or she doesn’t tolerate such conduct.

    Plus, Crossland could’ve used some energy to tackle. On YouTube, I saw recent games were fans of opponents posted highlights, and these guys didn’t seem interested in tackling at all.

    Bob Cook

    November 5, 2009 at 3:52 pm


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