I do feel very sorry for the kids on the team and for the young man involved. I don't know who at SMHS knew what and when they knew it. I live on Signal Mountain and I have been disturbed by the emphasis on football over everything else at SMHS. I have noted since the beginning of the program the tendency of Coach Price to run up the score against their opponents--that tells you something about his character and the type of coach he is. I also noted the incident involving some drinking by football players that didn't result in any type of suspension from playing, and an incident involving an altercation between SMHS parents and parents from another school that seemed to be brushed aside in a similar fashion. I'm sure that someone will say I don't know all the facts and that those incidents were handled appropriately. Yes, I don't know all the facts, but after a while, all of these incidents add up to create the sense that football is way too important at SMHS, and that Coach Price needs to be reined in. Tom McCullough is a fine man and an outstanding principal, and I hope he is able to use this as a teachable moment concerning the relative importance of the football program to the school and in the lives of the students and the families.
In most cities, a story like this would be on the front page of the paper every day until some action was taken. In Chattanooga the TFP is willing to look the other way if it thinks a story is bad for the Chattanooga brand. Bravo to Mr. Cook for keeping a spotlight on Page's behavior and the mayor's cowardly failure to take appropriate action. Cook's outrage is genuine and appropriate. I suspect he will continue to get calls from other city and county employees who have stories to share but felt no one would ever listen.
I hope Mr. Cook survives the "shoot the messenger" response that is almost certainly coming.