Harlingen CISD's decision has been made, and the seven Harlingen Cardinals football players who were arrested for MIP this past Saturday night will not play, will not even suit up, for Friday night's Bird Bowl game with Harlingen South. This story certainly stirred up some varying opinions across the RGV, here's mine:
This was absolutely the right decision by the school district for several reasons.
1. Precedent. This was the same decision that was handed down a few years ago when a star Cards player got caught with marijuana before the Battle of the Arroyo. He sat, and these guys will sit, too. One game, and the player gets put on double-secret probation, off the team with another misstep.
2. Jurisdiction. From what I've heard, the school doesn't have any when it comes to school suspensions, as the incident happened off school grounds. Extracurricular activities, however are always fair game when it comes to punishment.
3. Fairness. Missing this big a game is a pretty big deal for guys who have been working for months for the right to play on Friday night. Not only do they not get to hit the field in one of the biggest two rivalry games of the year, but they have to watch from the bleachers. Add that to the humiliation that the 5 non-minors get from having their mug shots plastered over the internet & TV, and in my opinion, the punishment fits the crime.
By the way, if you think that this is the end of it for these players, guess again. There's still the legal system to go through, and probably plenty of community service hours to serve down the road.
And the thought that the punishment should be harsher because these guys are some kind of role models just doesn't fly, sorry. If you're worried about kids looking up to the football players, then provide them with better role models. Hopefully that's the parents.