In the spirit of the New Year, we offer some resolutions.
For Ooltewah High School basketball coaches: Resign. Immediately. For Superintendent Rick Smith: If these coaches don't resign, fire them.
All of the young students who went along on the ball team's tournament trip to Gatlinburg in December deserve more than coaches and chaperones who leave them alone long enough for boredom to morph to bullying, bullying to transition to hazing, and hazing to become the sadistic violence and rape of a team member.
Rape with a wooden pool cue is not something that just happens. It is not a spur-of-the-moment occurrence. And there is no way to miss the signs of something like this — especially when one of several bullied players told a coach about concerns earlier. Further, there's no excuse for any coach to put this team on a game court the next day after the Dec. 22 aggravated assault that left a 15-year-old hospitalized for surgery to repair his ruptured colon and bladder. Then these coaches took that same team (some members heard the young man's screams and found him bleeding on the floor) to play three more games.
We agree with school board member Rhonda Thurman, who said this week she believes the rest of Ooltewah's basketball season should be canceled.
"I'm not holding the team responsible for the actions of three," Thurman said. "I'm holding the whole team responsible because somebody did not come to this boy's defense."