NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Welcome in to Juan's World...and before I start, let me preface what I'm about to say with this...I wasn't there, but....
Now to the issue. Last Friday night. Six days ago, a fight broke out in the Bogalusa/Amite playoff football game. From what I read, it happened near the end of the game with about three minutes left.
It was a benches-clearing brawl that left the head referee with no other choice but to end the game three minutes early.
Fast forward to last Wednesday or five days after the fight and it's was decided that Amite will have to forfeit this Fridays 3A semi-final game against St. James.
LHSAA rules clearly state that if there's a fight in a game, and players leave the bench and go on the field, then a one game suspension is given to everyone that came on the field.
Amite appealed. The high school's governing body upheld it's original ruling...no surprise there. And now, an East Baton Rouge judge has been asked to intervene and overturn the high school associations ruling so that the warriors can keep playing football.
We'll find out his ruling on Friday.
So that's the back story and I understand why the kids wanna play. I understand why the coaches wanna play. I understand why the Amite community wants their team to play Friday night.
It's the semi-final game. This would be the biggest game many of these kids will have ever played or ever will play again.
But, should they be allowed to play? Well, of course not. Because there's a bigger lesson to be learned here and it's that rules are rules. And as much as some people may wanna blame the kids for their actions, I put the onus on the Amite coaching staff.
Zephaniah Powell, the Warriors first year head coach, has learned a hard lesson here. As much as he knows the rules, and we're assuming that he does, It's imperative that his kids know them too.
What happened in last Friday's game is not unusual, considering the moment. Emotions are always gonna be running high.
Fights happen in football. But for this to escalate the way it did without the coaches taking the proper actions, is in-excusable.
The other argument is that Amite is being punished unfairly compared to what Bogalusa is receiving. Well, the rule is the players involved will be suspended for the next game. Bogalusa's next game is next season, a regular season game compared to Amite's state semi-final. I get how that feels unfair, but what if the shoe was on the other foot?
Again, I wasn't there, but I can see the difference between right and wrong and I'm hoping that the adults that are directly or indirectly involved with the Amite football program will see beyond the game and use this instance as a true learning lesson for their players.
There will come a time when the majority of these kids aren't playing organized football anymore. There will come a time when they are the adults that are in the stands watching another fight and thinking back to how they were punished. Hopefully their next thought is, "I'm a better man for what I had to endure then."
Oh, and one more thing. The next time this happens, we hope that the adults will remember what their first priority really is...to keep their kids safe.