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A lot of yellow, but that shouldn’t cost McCarter PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 07 October 2017 10:13

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Liberal coach Jason Dunlap discusses a call with the official in the second half Friday night at Redskin Field. Liberal’s Elijah McCarter delivered a crushing hit to a Buffalo receiver on a pass attempt, but the hit was ruled unsportsmanlike and McCarter was ejected from the game. Dunlap protested the severity of the reaction by the officiating crew. L&T photo/Earl Watt

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

Liberal High School has a self-imposed policy of suspending a player from playing the next game if they are ejected by officials for unsportsmanlike play.

It’s not a state requirement.

Like any rule, this needs to be take in some measured judgement, especially after Elijah McCarter was ejected Friday night.

Every now and then, for whatever reason, there is a night when the officials take center stage with the number of flags that are thrown, and as the saying goes, you can throw a flag on just about every play.

Friday night, that was closer to the truth.alt

That’s not to say that penalties were not being committed or that the flags were targeting one team. They weren’t. This officiating crew was certainly equal opportunity with flags flying both ways repeatedly through the night.

Some might even make a case that more could have been thrown on a potential facemask that went unnoticed, perhaps in miraculous fashion with the number of flags that found their way to the turf.

But on one play, it wasn’t the flag that was in question but the judgement that the play was unsportsmanlike that is at question.

Late in the game with the Redskins holding a comfortable lead, Wichita Southeast threw a deep pass, and McCarter bolted across the field to make the play. The Buffalo receiver missed the catch, and McCarter laid a solid hit.

It was an aggressive football play, nothing more. No one was injured. It did draw three flags.

In today’s game, making solid contact like that is frowned upon, and had the call been made of unnecessary roughness, that might have been justified.

Instead, the officials called the play unsportsmanlike and not only that, but they ejected McCarter from the game.

Coach Jason Dunlap had a stern discussion with the officials, not necessarily about the penalty, but about the unsportsmanlike ejection on a night when yellow flags flew in the breeze like confetti after the Superbowl.

Apparently, it comes down to a judgement call, and officials have that right.

But the next step should come down to a judgement call, too.

McCarter was removed from the game Friday night, but it did not rise to being removed from the next game. Not even close.

The officials made their judgement call, and now tempered judgment should be used on the self-imposed rule at LHS.

McCarter should be playing next week because it is the right thing to do.

Earlier this season, another Liberal player was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct, and his one-game suspension was justified based on what led to the penalty on the field.

McCarter playing football with passion is different than reacting in a negative way.

Game officials manage the game, and they deemed McCarter’s play warranted removal.

That alone was more than enough for what happened. Additional punishment would be an injustice.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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