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Posts Tagged ‘Maryland

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.

Written by rkcookjr

November 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Zero tolerance zeroes out a softball coach

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Brad Young, a girls’ high school softball coach in Frederick County, Md., is now a former softball coach because he hosted a beer-fueled party for his team. At least, he did in the eyes of the school board he says fired him this week because of the presence of some brewskis at the annual postseason cookout he hosts at his house. His JV coach got canned, too.

From the account given by a parent on the above link, Young, nor his players, did not partake of any alcohol during the party. However, some friendly and thankful parents thought they would bring a few six-packs over as a gesture of thanks.

And Young might have his own message of thanks: Thanks, parents, for getting me fired! Turns out school officials deemed Young’s house school property for the purposes of the event, and thus in violation of a rule banning alcohol on district grounds. So he got a punishment severe enough that he may as well have brought the team into his school office and knocked back jello shots with them before getting them all pregnant. I hope none of those parents smoke, because if anyone finds out they lit up, Young would be in violation of the school’s no-tobacco policy, and the district would hire him so it could fire him again. (Young is not a teacher, so he’s completely out of the picture after five years as coach.)

The Frederick County schools, as often happens when a district does something way overboard in the name of protecting the children, is refusing to comment on its decision.  It’s not even clear who made the decision to fire him. However, it’s a good bet the school’s lawyer(s) recommended Young’s dismissal because if you allow the presence of beer at someone’s house at a casual team function, then you get a Mom whipping out a glass of chardonnay when the math club gets together at a member’s house. Eternal vigilance, people, eternal vigilance!

Written by rkcookjr

July 15, 2009 at 2:51 am

2, 4, 6, 8, what we gonna legislate?

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In Missouri, it’s carving out as its own special assault the crime of beating the shit out of referees or coaches, something heartily supported by this columnist at the Blue Springs Examiner. The proposed state legislation, not beating the shit out of referees or coaches:

Usually I’m not a fan of the state legislature sticking its nose into the sports world.

The state representatives and senators have considered trying to take over the Missouri State High School Activities Association in the past, and that was a very bad idea.

But the Missouri House is currently considering legislation that would make penalties stiffer for attacking a sports official in the state.

And that is a very good idea.

It’s OK to disagree with a call now and then. I have to say I even have from time to time when watching my daughter’s games.

But officials in any sport have a tough enough time without having to worry about someone attacking them after – or during – the event.

And this proposed legislation would make people who have an inclination to do such things think twice before they act. Such attacks, under this bill, would mean the person instigating it would face up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine. As of now, most of these attacks would fall under third-degree assault, which is punishable by only a $300 fine.

I would definitely brain a referee for $300. But for $1,000? Whoo, I’m sitting right back down. Just be glad, Missouri people, they haven’t yet taken away your right to even disagree with the ref.

Seriously, about 20 states have passed similar laws, though no one can track how many ref and coach assaults happened before the bills passed, and how many happened afterward. But even with no empirical evidence, we all feel better when these laws go on the books, right? (The sponsor of the law that passed in my home state of Illinois was my own state Senator, Ed Maloney.) And then we can mock states like Connecticut, where such a bill has failed multiple times, and call them referee-and-coach shit-beater-outer lovers.

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In the posher realms of Connecticut, these shirts are called “ref beaters.”

In Rhode Island, it’s forming a state committee to hash out youth sports disputes — including fines for parties deemed to be the evil side. From The Associated Press:

Soccer dads and hockey moms beware: Lose your cool at your kids’ games and you might have to pay.

A bill pending in Rhode Island would create a seven-member council to settle disputes in youth recreational leagues, with the power to fine parents or others it thinks are in the wrong. Backers say it would create a more systematic way for resolving sports fights that sometime result in children or parents arbitrarily being removed from organized leagues.

While some other state and town governments have tried to enforce good sportsmanship, national experts say no state has ever considered intervening so deeply in sideline squabbles. …

Jeff Southworth, 48, said more regulation is needed to hold league officials accountable. He called Pawtucket police more than three years ago after he said his daughter’s soccer coach showed up angry and unwelcome at his family’s home. The two clashed over league matters, he said, including whether Southworth could videotape soccer games.

Southworth’s daughter quit the team and needed counseling, he said. The family tried, but was unable to get, local or state soccer officials or the city government to intervene. …

Sen. John Tassoni Jr., a Democrat who works for a politically influential labor union and the bill’s sponsor, said he may still revise the bill to give the council the power to compel witnesses to testify. Identical legislation has been filed by Democratic Rep. Timothy Williamson, the senior deputy majority leader in the House.

Tassoni wrote the legislation after hearing from parents, including the mother of a young girl cut from a football cheerleading squad because her mother argued with a coach.

“The board of directors said, ‘You’re out. Take your kid and leave,’” Tassoni said. “Who loses? The child loses because they can’t play sports with their friends.” …

No surprise, league officials hate this bill. Perhaps because it’s being pushed by the same asshole parents that make their lives hell to begin with. This bill, by the way, establishes no parameters for the threshhold for complaints to be heard. Whether they’re right or wrong, there’s nothing youth sports volunteers will like more than being dragged before a state committee to explain why Timmy isn’t getting enough playing time.

Finally, in Maryland, it’s making sure youth (and adult) sports officials aren’t covered by the state’s unemployment insurance law. The impetus was when a recently laid-off worker/active umpire listed Howard County Officials Inc. on his unemployment form, which led the state’s department of labor to demand $15,700 in payment from the group for past unpaid unemployment insurance. From The View Newspapers:

[Bill sponsor Allan] Kittleman [a Republican from West Friendship] said the state’s new interpretation of referees could have far-reaching implications, forcing officiating organizations across Maryland to pay thousands of dollars in taxes previously not required or risk closing.

The state’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation opposes Kittleman’s bill, saying his legislation would create a “loophole” that could have unintended consequences. “… Such carve-outs can unintentionally leave categories or workers without the ability to collect unemployment benefits, a critical social safety net,” the agency argued in testimony submitted to the Finance Committee.

Agency spokeswoman Dori Berman said the state routinely opposes exemptions to the unemployment insurance law, though committee members said “paperboys” have already been exempted.

Even if Kittleman’s bill were to pass, it would likely not save the group, which has about 40 umpires working more than 3,000 games a year, because of the $15,700 bill it’s facing, the umpires said.

At [a] hearing, Thomas Perez, secretary of the state Labor Department, said he hoped to meet with Kittleman and find a “common-sense” solution to the officials’ troubles, although he would have to study it more before saying what that solution might be.

“If we had some time to craft something that made legal sense and common sense, we’re more than willing to do that,” Perez said, adding that he once spent summers umpiring baseball games. “There are a number of layers of review that could very well result in a different determination.”

So far, there are no reports of any meeting between Howard County Officials and the labor department. And the bill hasn’t moved anywhere since the Feb. 17 hearing. That means there’s only one thing the aggrieved organization and its officials can do — complain about the jagoff who blew their cover.

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