Let the facts play out regarding return of high school sports

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Tad Gormley

We have heard it all.

The virus is going to destroy the world. Athletics should not happen for at least a year. The virus is vastly overrated. Athletics should resume immediately. The virus is a political tool. Athletics are not important.

I have friends from all backgrounds representing all trends of thought, and I always will. Deep thought and conviction are more than welcome premises in my world. Just because I may think one way and you think the opposite does mean I will not listen or that I will hate you.

To the contrary, I have immense respect for all people of conviction, provided they are respectful of myself and others. Constructive dialogue can solve many issues. We find ourselves immersed in that conversation now, as a whole and we should embrace the concept wholly to find common ground solutions.

We have spent over a month on 106.1 FM and through CrescentCitySports.com having real, positive, constructive dialogue with coaches from around the Greater New Orleans area on the pandemic, race relations and social justice. It has been informative and educational. It has been enlightening on a personal level, sometimes sobering.

Let me make this very clear.

I do not advocate compromising who you are or what you believe.

I certainly feel strongly about my belief system and what shapes my character. I fully recommend tolerance, patience and having eyes to see and ears to hear so that we can all better understand each other, learn from each other and respect each other. What truly matters is we are to overcome these difficult times in which we find ourselves.

On Monday evening, Louisiana state senator Cleo Fields composed a letter to State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Sandy Holloway recommending that the board suspend all athletic activities for this fall, citing safety issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic sweeping our cities and state.

Many have pointed to Fields’ checkered record in responding to his letter.

While that is understandable and respected, I will throw that out in analyzing the existing scenario.

To get to the heart of the matter, with all due respect to one man’s opinion, Fields is, for lack of a better description, out of his playing field.

The fact of the matter is that BESE has no authority over school district’s decisions as they pertain to athletics, as BESE President Sandy Holloway told Hunter Bower of GeauxPreps.com Monday evening. As a matter of fact, the LHSAA and its school districts hold full governing power over all athletic activities in Louisiana.

To credit the LHSAA, Eddie Bonine and his organization have followed the state guidelines put in place, mandated by Governor John Bel Edwards. Whether you agree or disagree, support or do not support the governor politically, both the governor and the LHSAA have acted in the best interest of young people.

The LHSAA has no governance of summer sports activities when schools are not in session.

Bonine told CrescentCitySports.com Tuesday morning that he is corresponding with Holloway and has spoken with Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley and with Dr. Janet Pope, Executive Director of the Louisiana School Boards Association. Bonine has a pending conversation with Michael Faulk, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents.

Bonine also said that he and his organization have received a very significant number of letters and correspondences of support of athletics resuming in the fall semester since the Fields letter was published.

As a matter of fact, I personally felt that schools could have allowed more student-athletes on campuses under Phase I guidelines.

To my way of thinking, disciplined, closely watched, supervised, safe gatherings where social distancing and strict sanitation policies, temperature checks and testing were in place were better locales than a host of young men or women gathering together on their own in close proximity without monitoring to workout on their own, as was the case frequently, often with students from different schools getting together.

That said, I still understand and support the attempt and the actual practice of what took place on a statewide level until Phase II kicked in and relaxed the standards, allowing gatherings on campus of up to 25 in pods or groups.

The science matters. The kids matter. Safety matters. School matters. Athletics, fellowship and teamwork matter.

Let us all allow the matter to sort itself out before passing final judgment on anyone or any entity and let the matter be decided by facts so that every effort is made to get young men and women back on their fields of dreams, not to have their dreams quashed unnecessarily or prematurely by Fields or anyone else.

Cancel the seasons or push them back only if the evidence and the real threat make it essential. That would be understandable, acceptable to reasonable minds of reasonable people.

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Ken Trahan

Ken Trahan

CEO/Owner

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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