Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sport & Fair Play Takes A Huge Hit

Amherst Regional High School sports teams nicknamed "Hurricanes"




With all the endless talk about bullying in our schools and adults in charge stepping up to take responsibility to do the right thing, especially in Amherst, Ground Zero for all things touchy-feely, you would think Monday night's high school basketball incident would be about as likely as a UFO landing in town center.

According to published reports, ARHS player Tyrell Jackson purposely crashed into South Hadley coach Jeff Guiel. Twice! Even worse, Jackson claims he was ordered by assistant coach Eric Wheeler to perform the mugging, and soon thereafter was put in the game by head coach Jim Matuszko.

Sure it's fairly common practice in team sports to have one or two players who act as "enforcers". They are not known for their advanced skills at the game but more for their brawn. And their job is usually to protect the gifted star who may be targeted by their goon counterpart on the opposing team.

But this incident goes laps beyond that shady practice, and borders on criminal assault. Let's not forget that a District Attorney broke new legal ground charging South Hadley High School students for their repugnant actions that lead to the death of Phoebe Prince.

Or Penn State harboring a pedophile to protect the image of their sacred football program. Or Lance Armstrong, hero to so very many, repeatedly lying about using performance enhancing drugs.

Athletes are supposed to be role models, as are their coaches! This shameful incident brings into disrepute the players and staff, the sport of basketball, Amherst Regional High School, and our entire town.

There's an ill wind blowing, and it's only going to get worse ...

Backstory in emails


The media is the message:

42 comments:

Dr. Ed said...

Borders on criminal assault?!?!?!?

What would you (and others) say if a UMass student had done something like this to, say, a member of the Amherst Select Board? What if the students weren't happy about something Stephanie was saying at a meeting so they had some guy physically knock her to the ground twice? He would be arrested and charged not only with criminal assault but also battery -- as he should be.

This young man needs to be criminally charged, as does the coach if he actually even hinted that the player ought to do what he did.

Notwithstanding the fact that athletes ought to be held to a higher standard, no one would tolerate something like this from a UMass student, why are people willing to tolerate it from someone only a few years younger?

Larry Kelley said...

Not so sure it's being tolerated.

I'm told by ARHS Principal Mark Jackson that the schools will issue a statement shortly, although disciplinary action is immune from public disclosure.

Anonymous said...

If the ARHS coaches did instruct the player to take such actions, the coaches and the player should be disciplined. However, in the world of local high school basketball, it is commonly known that South Hadley plays "dirty" basketball.

Larry Kelley said...

As my wise Irish mother used to say, "Two wrongs don't make a right."

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, would this be the same ARHS Principal who once -- at a school committee meeting -- physically charged at and essentially assaulted a female member of the committee, one Catherine Sanderson?

I have long had problems with that because of the example it sets for a lot of very impressionable people...

Anonymous said...

Tell that to the IRA...

Larry Kelley said...

I did. After they tried to blow up the Queen Mother.

Anonymous said...

Uh, Ed, Principal Jackson NEVER physically charged at Catherine Sanderson. They had a very vocal disagreement that night, for sure, but me thinks Mark Jackson would have excellent grounds to sue you for libel (or is it slander - I can never keep the two straight) for saying that he physically charged her. I was there. He DID NOT physically charge her.

Anonymous said...

Thats just part of the game. What a joke the coach was fired.

Anonymous said...

coaches should be fired and season cancelled.......what type of example are the coaches showing and 17 year old players should know better...i hope strong discipline is taken...and larry...thank you for this.....hope you continue to follow and write about this story

Larry Kelley said...

Anon 4:17 PM

With all due respect: You sir, are an ass.

Anonymous said...

Tyrell Jackson is a teen-ager. The misguided coach who told him to run into the coach is a UMass student--not an adult as anyone who lives in Amherst can attest.

Let's focus on the real problem here: the adults.

Coach Guiel is an adult who is paid for what he does, and he stands on the court, even when he knows he's not allowed to. A player runs him over because he's standing on the court. What does Genius Guiel do? Continues to stand on the court even though he's not allowed to do that and was run over for doing it.

The referees. Where were they? All they have to do is call a technical on Guiel for standing on the court and that would put an end to it, and the incident never would have happened. The referees do not do this. The player runs over the coach. What do the referees do? Nothing. No technical on the coach, no technical on the player. Player runs over coach again. What do referees do? Nothing. No technical on the coach, no technical on the player.

The Amherst varsity coach, an adult getting paid for doing this, Matuszko. His player runs over the other coach. Regardless of what you knew beforehand, you take the kid out. Maybe you suspend him for a game or two. You certainly don't leave him in the game to run over the other coach again.

So forget about a teen-ager who does what a coach tells him (young men do all sorts of harmful things on orders from coaches), and forgot about what a UMass student who has since been fired did: focus on the adults who fail to perform as adults. The two head coaches and the refs.

Anonymous said...

White coach tells Black teenager to run over other White coach. Black teenager is suspended. Sound familiar? Wonder how Mark Jackson will wriggle when he talks about this one.

Anonymous said...

OMG= What a way to acknowledge the anniversary of Phoebe Prince's death. (Mon the 14th)

The video (channel 40) is shocking-no warning- forceful shove (from the rear) It came out of nowhere!

Hope the SH coach is ok

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:56
Considering he fired the "white coach" immediately I don't see why he'd need to wriggle.

Dr. Ed said...

There is an exception to FERPA confidentiality -- in disciplinary cases where there is an allegation of physical or sexual assault, the alleged victim is permitted to be told (and must be told upon request) of the outcome of the proceeding and the sanction(s), if any.

FERPA applies to K-12 as well, and I don't remember seeing anything about an exception when the alleged perp is under 18 or 16 or even 15 - but a 17-year-old can be charged as an adult, his name would be public info were he arrested, and I can't see why at least the SoHa coach can't be told what punishment the kid got.

Now if the coach was on the court itself, that makes things more complicated and the question I ask is about the referees. Maybe not this game but if the coach does this all the time, someone has had to sorta suggest he not do this, and maybe the referees looked the other way, or they may actually have implicitly (explicitly?) encouraged this?

Maine had a so-called "seatbelt rule" -- it is an automatic technical foul for a coach to even get out of his SEAT and while I always thought the rule a bit draconian, I can see why it was instituted. We have rules in this society, both in sports and in life, and we have them for a reason -- to prevent vigilianteeism. Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliette isn't really a love story as much as a message about where vigilantism will go if unchecked and why it ought not be permitted.

It wouldn't surprise me that South Hadley is a "dirty" team -- but what you do is refuse to play them. Forfeit the game, particularly if won't have an impact on your chances for the tournament -- that's the sort of thing that gets even the most nonchalant of sports writers having to inquire and a few schools doing this, that likely would change things....

Dr. Ed said...

As to Marc Jackson -- I don't respect him enough to use his title -- a nationally known criminal defense attorney defines "assault" in Massachusetts as thus:

An “assault” is a movement that indicates that the assaulter is going to inflict imminent harm on a victim.

There is a video showing Sanderson reflexively putting her hands up to protect her face -- to protect her face from what? Words -- no, I don't think so. She's putting her hands up to protect herself from what she perceives to be imminent physical harm that she fears Jackson is approaching her to inflict.

We make a big fuss nowadays about "Violence Against Women" and how guys shouldn't beat on girls and all the rest. When the girl puts her hands up in terror, as Sanderson did, any decent guy ought to realize that he ought not continue aggressively moving toward her, that he should take a step back and make it clear that he doesn't intend to hit her.

I'm not going to let the woman win the argument, but I also am not going to have her in fear of me either. And there is a distinction here.

Remember too that Sanderson was Jackson's boss at the time. There are a lot of districts where a TEACHER who did this would have been summarily fired for insubordination, and I still can't believe this was tolerated from a principal. You don't have to like your boss, but (at least in public) you are supposed to be respectful of him/her/it.

As an aside, John Lombardi was fired for telling Jack Wilson to go f*** himself -- and he said it in private. But I digress.

Marc Jackson would have no grounds for a libel suit against me because I am not stating anything that isn't true, and truth is an absolute defense to libel allegations. Furthermore, a High School Principal is a "public figure" which makes it much more difficult for him to sue -- any suit would be laughed out of court if he could even find an attorney ignorant enough to bring it in.

One more thing -- a fish rots from the head down. I don't hold the coach responsible for this, I hold Marc Jackson. It is his school -- and he set the tone very clearly in that interaction with Sanderson.

Dr. Ed said...

One other thing on Marc Jackson -- would you tolerate a male UMass student doing the same thing to Selectboard Stephanie?

Do any of you have any doubt that the student wouldn't be arrested? I have no doubt -- and it wouldn't be tolerated. So why is such boorish behavior tolerated from the role model for impressionable young people?

Anonymous said...

High school kids report it was game suspension not school suspension.

Anonymous said...

Who said these people are role models? That seems to be a cultural assumption that has no basis. Since when does being good at something make you a higher power? In fact science shows that these so-called role models aren't even role models for most kids in any way. I think it says more about us and society that we look up to sports stars for moral guidance. Charles Barkley the basketball player was among the first pro sportsmen to ask why are they considered role models. He basically said he wasn't smart at school, and anger issues and liked to drink and gamble. He couldn't understand why kids would want to be like him OFF the court. He also smartly said that role models should not be distant sports people, but closer to home, like parents, family and teachers.

Dr. Ed said...

Student athletes are first and foremost students -- who are privileged to represent the school. It isn't just talent, it is behavior as well -- UMass learned that the hard way with Marcus Camby and the rest of Coach Cal's Criminals...

Very few students have the opportunity to be on the team -- if this young man is off it, it means that another young man has the chance to be on it -- and yes, character counts.

And as to who makes the sports players heroes and role models, it is the school itself...

Dr.Ed said...

This is probably the only time I will ever agree with Maria G, and while I wouldn't have used the touchie-feelie language she does, she is absolutely right-on here.

"Adults, whether in the classroom or on a basketball court, are models for students and charged with teaching and supporting students in their academic, social and behavioral growth," Geryk said. "I am saddened and disappointed that an adult would create a situation which compromised one of our students."

Anonymous said...

Maybe people should avoid a rush to judgment and not base their quick opinions on early news articles. There is more to this story.

Anonymous said...

Yea there must be more to the story! We need to expect the worst at all times when it comes to the schools. We must flesh out the conspiracy! Surely we can find a way to blame all of this on Maria Geryk!

Dr. Ed said...

As to both there being more to this story and blaming it on Maria G, I believe the Gazette was quoting the So Hadley coach as saying something about how he wasn't sure what he would be doing, and how he has been a lawyer for twenty-something years (I forget the figure), and this could get really really interesting.

The fired coach is a UMass student -- was he hired as a school employee or AS A UMass student -- is he a graduate student and was this a "TA" -- a graduate assistantship? Technically called an "Externship", the employer pays both the salary and the student's tuition/fees at UM -- and the job has to be something relating to the student's academic major.

Legally, such a person is in the same status as a student teacher -- both the employer and UMass are supposed to be advising and guiding the student who is more like an apprentice than an employee. And this opens up all kinds of negligence issues in a way it doesn't for a regular employee whom they don't have a duty to supervise this closely.

This could get really interesting -- particularly if Section 1983 is raised and the victim-who-is-also-a-lawyer raises "conspiracy to violate civil rights" which a creative lawyer could do here in a variety of manners.

And as to Maria G, this is where her not being Dr. G, her not having the education of a relevant doctorate, may come back to bite the ARSD. An aggressive attorney is going to be ask a lot of "why didn't you" questions that I doubt she is going to have answers for...

Dr. Ed said...

0h, and then there is this:
http://americasfuture.org/doublethink/2013/01/hey-leave-lance-armstrong-alone/

He raises a compelling argument that Lance Armstrong didn't do anything wrong - and the point of how the bicycles they are using today weigh half what those of a century ago did is also interesting.

Anonymous said...

As a student at ARHS, I tell you Larry, to stop posting these articles aimed directly at my friends, my teachers and my community. I know you get a hoot and holler stirring up all these issues in the town, and I say you leave it up to the school to deal with disciplinary issues regarding the student and the coach, instead of posting one-sided arguments against high school students.

And to all you people who scream at Mark Jackson, you don't know what he's done for the school.

Larry Kelley said...

I would hope the school teaches you the value of seeking the truth.

Dr. Ed said...

To the anonymous high school student, this has made the Portland (ME) Press Herald on its own, without any help from Larry Kelly:
http://www.pressherald.com/news/Mass-basketball-coach-fired-for-take-out-order-.html

And as to your principal, we have this little thing about violence against women, you might have heard of it (I hope) -- and no matter how mad you are at a woman, putting her in fear of her physical safety is not acceptable....

Hey, by all accounts, the earlier principal who liked little boys a bit too much was *otherwise* an effective and competent principal, wasn't he?

Anonymous said...

a hoot and holler? you're in high school?

Anonymous said...

Larry, you really are taking a huge risk by continuing to publish Ed's libelous accusations about mark jackson.
I have said it before and I will say it again. Mark Jackson NEVER rushed anyone. He stood up and went to the microphone and made a comment. NO ONE was ever in fear of being assaulted. I really hope Mark Jackson sees the comments on this blog and takes action to finally shut Ed up. Hopefully you will not be caught up in the crossfire.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, you really are taking a huge risk... I really hope Mark Jackson ... takes action to finally shut Ed up. Hopefully you will not be caught up in the crossfire.

Crossfire: Noun, line of gunfire.
Now you folks have gone so far as to openly encourage someone to shoot me?!?!?

A man who is the high school principal for now fewer than four municipalities is inherently a public figure. SCOTUS (_New York Times v. Sullivan_) established a very high barrier to any libel action by a public figure, in addition to something not being true, the public official must prove "actual malice."

I am reflecting on my memories of an incident that occurred about three years ago. I have no malice towards Mr. Jackson, but even if I did, he would have to prove it - and that is essentially impossible to do.

And as to "prior restraint" -- i.e. "action to finally shut Ed up" -- courts take an even dimmer view of that. As this is all taught in the courses which are required for certification as a principal, and as Mr. Jackson has presumably taken such courses, he would know this.

Hence I interpret the post as a warning that he intends to kill me. That's criminal threatening and it is illegal. Post-Newtown, law enforcement tends to take such things rather seriously and if there is ever another one even vaguely hinting at violence, I will immediately ask law enforcement to do so.

Anonymous said...

"Mass-basketball-coach-fired-for-take-out-order"

What restaurant?

Anonymous said...

Ok Ed. For the sake of clarity in your pea brain. If Mark Jackson sued you for libel, I would hope a conviction in court would for once and all shut you up, ie take away your desire and ability to post drivel and lies on this blog. And I hope Larry does not get hit in the crossfire of words that would ensue if Mark Jackson sued you.
Now please just go away and leave us alone. Move on to another town already. I dont understand why you are still here if you hate it here so much.

Anonymous said...

"if there is ever another one even vaguely hinting at violence, I will immediately ask law enforcement to do so."

Why wait, Ed? If you truly believe that a "(noun) brisk exchange of words or opinions" is a threat to kill you, why not ask them right now?

Answer #1: Because you're all bluster. How many times have you threatened legal action -- here, and in the rest of your life -- in the last year alone? How many times have you actually taken it? Do you really think you're scaring anyone, little boy?

Answer #2: Because you know they would laugh even harder and longer than we have. (If you honestly don't know that, ask your lawyer's opinion.)

Dr. Ed said...

Mark Jackson is a public official, you idiots, any competent lawyer is aware of Rule 3.1, and I don't see how Larry is "taking a huge risk" (of harm) by possibly being caught in "a brisk exchange of words or opinions."

But as to the Amherst Public Schools in general, I think this was most appropriate and any loving parent will clearly understand the point:

http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2012/11/life-under-compulsion-if-teachers-were-plumbers/

Anonymous said...

"They ... do not know when to start or end a conversation. They are very literal in what they say and fail to comprehend complex words and phrases, expressions like metaphors and even jokes. They have trouble understanding sarcasm and satire..."

Anonymous said...

Is that a definition of Aspergers?

Roach Patrolling down Ponziville's spine said...

"I would hope the school teaches you the value of seeking the truth."

This is what is so (for lack of a better way to describe it) ~powerful~ about you, Larry Kelley... and it's what really terrifies them about the blog.

Whilst I merely take potshots (and I know it), you (in advocating truth seeking), are taking a bulldozer to their mountain of garbage.

On some level even they respect you. They ~have~ to.

Love Larry or hate him, the truth is, the goons of this utopia are not even in the same league...

They know it and they ~feel~ it.

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Anonymous said...

Matuszko has a long history with South Hadley...very hard to believe he didn't know what was going on...but nothing will happen to him. The wagons are circling, he has many ties to the business community. Mark Jackson and Maria Geryk will only make decisions that will help their careers.....they will play their political games and point fingers when they need to. It's a shame. No wonder they are getting less and less respect from parents and faculty.
And how about that sleazy realtor booster president going on tv and blaming the incident on the officials. What a jerk! Nice way to represent the community.

Anonymous said...

Last I checked, people do not deliberately bump into each other while chasing a ball during a Select board meeting. These are not similar to one another.