End Racism in School Sports
There is no room for racism in school sports. Let me go further, there's no room for racism. Period.
Reaction to the story in the Star today shows more people agree, than disagree, with the decisions taken by Kevin Caughlin, the Principal at Thomas A. Blakelock High School in Oakville. He scrapped the boys' hockey team because of some alleged racial slurs in a Halton Region league game against Milton District. Apparently, it was the last straw in a series of events for this team and Caughlin, after consultation with his staff, just had enough.
Some people think pulling the plug on the team was too harsh. Instead, they say, penalize those responsible. I spoke with two players on the Blakelock team and both didn't want to be quoted. Likely, because of repercussions. However, they both agreed with the decision to end the season.
One said it was just a bit of chirping, more like retaliation for some Milton District players allegedly questioning the quality of the Blakelock team. I see, so does that open the door for racial slurs? The other said things got a bit ugly and what was said was just inappropriate. I could tell he came close to hanging up the phone.
There is a code of behaviour for high school players and coaches. It's there for a reason and not just to look pretty in a book. Coaches need to enforce it rather than brush it aside because they may have a good team or the perpetrator is an elite athlete.
We have a multicultural society and people need to respect each other, not hit below the belt if you know what I mean. A quick glance on school athletic association websites in the Greater Toronto Area has information, albeit buried in some cases, and all the fluff about encouraging good sportsmanship. Some people understand, some don't give a hoot and that's why Caughlin did the right thing. Now, maybe others will join the bandwagon.
Blatant attempts to injure, vicious hits to the head, insidious racial remarks coming from a war of words and even coaches threatening officials with violence have to stop. I am sure these things are not reserved for school sports, but likely rooted in deeper social problems.
I know of situations, and in this school year, where administrations have taken a softer approach. Yes, a band-aid instead of dealing with the problem. Leave things along and it will go away and get better.
Excuses have to go. School officials, and athletic associations, need to do what has to be done and stop putting things aside.