The Big Picture each week focuses on athletics from the East Bay Athletic League or athletes from the Tri-Valley.
But after what happened in a high school football game in the Los Angeles area on Friday, Oct. 29, I felt compelled to turn this space into a soap box.
In case you haven’t heard, on the 29th in a battle of two teams from the city of Inglewood, Inglewood High dropped a 106-0 assault on Morningside High.
That’s right – 106-0.
On the surface there are so many things wrong with this result and it gets even worse when you add the following information.
* Inglewood was ahead 59-0 at the end of the first quarter.
* When the referees, as well as Morningside coach Brian Collins, asked Inglewood coach Mil’Von James to agree to the running clock, he refused.
* Inglewood quarterback Justyn Martin, a UCLA commit, threw for 13 touchdowns, regularly throwing late in the game.
* When Inglewood scored to go up 104-0, James had his team go for two.
That is almost hard to digest how much of a punk James looks like following this game.
It was reported in the LA Times, James already has a checkered past as before he came to Inglewood; he was fired from his coaching job at Hawkins High - also in Los Angeles – for using illegal players.
This year he has seven players headed to play major college football, with all seven being transfers to the school.
If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck ….
How James still has a job is beyond me. Where are any positive lessons from this game? I guess the one positive would be “what a coach should not do.”
I have written countless times over the years about how important high school athletics are in the development of our high students.
They learn traits like discipline, hard work and accountability, to both their teammates as well as themselves. You learn about balancing academics with athletics to stay eligible.
In one game, James defecated over all of that.
Collins was quoted in the L.A. Times as saying it was a “classless move.”
That’s being kind.
What happens next?
The California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section issued the following statement:
"The CIF Southern Section expects that all athletic contests are to be conducted under the strictest code of good sportsmanship ... a score of 106-0 does not represent these ideals. The CIF-SS condemns, in the strongest terms, results such as these. It is our expectation that the Inglewood administration will work towards putting in place an action plan so that an event such as this does not repeat itself."
The Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) has stated a full investigation will be held and appropriate steps will be taken to ensure something like this does not occur again.
Is this just rhetoric?
All nice on paper, but this is a no-brainer - James needs to be released immediately and anything short of that is a joke.
In 30-plus years of covering high school sports, the number of times I have seen in person a team run up the score in all sports I could count on one hand.
Each time I saw it happen I have called out the respective coach/program. The last time it happened locally, the school did make the decision not to retain the coach.
It was the right decision by the school, and the program is better off without said coach.
There has been enough publicity already about James’ actions so hopefully the Southern Section and the IUSD act quickly and responsibly. The more publicity makes it harder for the respective organizations to hide.
An example needs to be made or this will happen again. Not if, but rather when, it will happen.
There is one tremendously ironic moment from this game.
It was in 1990 that the Morningside girls’ basketball team with Lisa Leslie scored 102 points in the first half of a game with South Torrence.
Leslie had 101 of the points in the first half. South Torrence refused to come out of the locker room for the second half, leaving the final score 102-24.
It takes time, but karma does seem to come around. Hopefully we won’t have to wait as long for James to get his dose.