Wednesday, August 16, 2006
The right to play football trumps a little brain damage
KENTON, Ohio (AP) — A judge decided two high school athletes can complete the football season this fall before they serve 60-day jail sentences for a car crash caused by a decoy deer placed in a country road. Two teens were injured.
“I shouldn’t be doing this, but I’m going to. I see positive things about participating in football,” Judge Gary McKinley said Tuesday.
Dailyn Campbell, a 16-year-old quarterback for Kenton High, and 17-year-old teammate Jesse Howard will serve their time in a juvenile detention center. They were also ordered to write a 500-word essay titled “Why I Should Think Before I Act.”
Last November, teens stole the decoy from a man’s home, created a base to help it stand upright because it had only two legs, and then drove up and down the road, watching as drivers swerved to avoid it, prosecutor Brad Bailey said. He said Howard did not stop the prank.
Robert Roby Jr. crashed his car into a pole and broke his neck, collarbone, arm and leg. His passenger, Dustin Zachariah, suffered brain damage, Bailey said.
Campbell and Howard pleaded no contest to vehicular vandalism and other charges. Three other teenagers are awaiting trial in the fall.
“None of these guys will ever know what our sons have gone through,” Roby’s mother, Mary, wrote to the court. “If they get nothing for what they’ve done, they’ll do something worse later. They need more than a slap on the wrist.”
Both Campbell and Howard apologized at their sentencing.
“I think every day that I hurt someone, and that hurts me inside,” Howard said.
A broken neck. Brain damage. And this is what they get?
Now, I'm all for giving people second chances, especially kids. And 60 days in jail? Okay. But...fucking football? Do you know how screwed up that is? "Well, boys, I know you screwed up the lives of two other people. And they're going to have to live with that damage for the rest of their lives. Gods, with brain damage, you may have completely altered one fella's life. But you know...the team needs ya. And football is king!"
Fuck that. What sort of message does that send to the victims? You're important, but not as important as winning the state tourny? We understand your pain, but can you put in on ice? Just for a few months? Please.