OUR VIEW: Coverage not about race or creating any hypeMarty Indian School didn’t have enough players to play the Braves’ scheduled game against Plankinton two Fridays ago.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Marty Indian School didn’t have enough players to play the Braves’ scheduled game against Plankinton two Fridays ago.
The Daily Republic reported that, and also penned a follow-up report, asking some area coaches if they have qualms scheduling Marty in the future. We were curious what coaches felt about Marty, considering the team’s recent forfeit and also that Marty fields a squad that has dangerously few players. In the days since, we’ve been called racists (by telephone callers) and sensationalists (by Marty Superintendent Mike Elsberry). We don’t regret our reporting on this incident. Not at all.
Here’s why: High school football teams get just eight regular-season games to compete, and the programs that choose to participate have made a commitment to follow through on the schedules created by the South Dakota High School Activities Association.
Had another program in our coverage area forfeited a game, we would have reported that, too. That the boys involved are American Indian, white, or black-and-gold doesn’t matter.
When we called other coaches in the Great Plains Conference to seek their opinion on scheduling Marty, a few said they would rather not.
That indicates there is a deeper problem — not one that involves race, but perhaps one that involves distrust that the team will actually show up and make a game of it.
If Marty cannot be certain it can field enough players to fulfill its scheduling commitments, the program should indeed face scrutiny.
Our coverage of, and our concern about, Marty’s forfeiture isn’t about race, nor is it about sensationalism. Our coverage simply calls into question whether coaches worry that Marty will forfeit in the future, and whether boys on other teams will lose opportunities — rare opportunities at that — because of it.