NFL players' fight sparks discussion at high-school level for officials, parents

Published: Nov. 15, 2019 at 10:20 PM CST
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A fight toward the end of Thursday night's NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns has gained national attention,

The focus of the tussle was Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph and Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, shown taking a swing at Rudolph with the quarterback's helmet. It's a situation Kansas State High School Activities Association official Keith Kinley says doesn't set a great example for those younger players watching.

"For this incident to come and take away from that it’s really kind of disheartening," said Kinley.

Kinley has been an official for KSHSAA for 15 years. He says he's had to break up a fight recently and there is zero tolerance for actions of that sort on the high school level.

"We don’t have replay in high school football. We have a split second to decide, ,'okay, did the kid shove him or did he punch him?'" said Kinley.

KSHSAA says in nine weeks of this season there have been more than 100 ejections. This includes 70 players for throwing punches, 15 players for targeting, 53 players for being flagged for two unsportsmanlike penalties, and nine coach ejections. The grand total of ejections across the state this fall is 147.,

When it comes to high school football Maize South High School parent Dallas Grothusen says players are easily influence by what they see on TV and fighting on the field is one example.

"Just to know it's happening in high school athletics today where punches are being thrown because of being ejected out is proof that they're watching was happening on the big screen," said Grothusen.

Maize and Maize South played in a sectional playoff game Friday night, Ahead of the game, Grothusen says tensions were high, but with that, he expected good sportsmanship.

"It's one Maize here. Maize South is who we are cheering for, but it is a game and we need to walk away as friends," said Grothusen.

Kinley says high-school officials in the state have preventive tools like talking to coaches and players so fights don't happen. The occasions where tempers do boil over takes away the heart and fun of the game, he says.

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