PRUETT COLUMN: Game isn’t end of change

Published 9:56 am Monday, September 12, 2016

This week showcased exactly how far we need to come as a country, even here in Southeast Texas.
We saw the fallout of two Bridge City football players’ decision to make a meme using the photo of a West Orange-Stark player’s face along with a racial slur. The meme caused an uproar on Twitter and raised the questions of racism and hate. It was sad to the situation unfold and the comments that were made.
This should have never happened but it did. Now we must all use this situation as a learning tool to our youths.
We are not all of the same race. That is a fact. We all come from different walks of life and from different cultures.
We are different colors, different sizes and different sexes.
What we do have in common is we are all humans. We all live on the same planet and breathe the same air.
I said from when the news broke that there were two very important people coming in the story: Bridge City coach Dwayne DuBois and WOS coach Cornel Thompson.
This turned out to be right.
DuBois immediately did what he needed to do. He called an early morning meeting of his team on Thursday and sent the message loud and clear that this type of action would not be tolerated.
DuBois also showed what kind of man he is by shaking hands with two WOS players after Friday’s 55-0 Mustangs win over the Cardinals. The two teams did not shake hands, and that decision was for the best.
But, DuBois made sure to find the player who was the subject of the meme and gave him an in-person apology. He also met with WOS quarterback Jack Dallas.
Thompson was the perfect person on the WOS side of things. Thompson had the task of making sure his players did not play with only revenge on their mind.
WOS might have won 55-0, but a lot of that score had to do with just how talented the Mustangs are this season. The team hasn’t given up a point through its first three games.
Sure, the Mustangs probably had some harder hits Friday laid toward the Cardinals. That is to be expected, but what you didn’t hear about Saturday was any WOS player being ejected from the game.
That is because Thompson would not allow it. His team let the football game be the deciding factor, so WOS played with discipline and honor.
OK, so the game is over and we need to start to find a way to grow from the situation. Both communities need to find a common ground and that common ground has to be education.
This problem now needs to move from this situation and into our daily lives.
What do we think of each other? Do we realize how important our fellow man is to our own lives? Are we any better than any other person walking this planet?
There needs to come a change in this country, and now Southeast Texas has seen it firsthand.
I hope we use this situation to better our area. We start to have talks with each other about what we can do to improve our existence.
Hatred has no place in our lives. It does no good.
While the punishments have been handed down and the game has been played, we cannot let this be forgotten. We need to forgive the ones who did wrong and accept all apologies as sincere.
When all that is said and done, we need to find a way to make sure it never happens again.
Take care of each other this week. Do something good for someone you might not even know and start to see even the smallest acts of kindness can go a long way into bringing a real change to our world.

Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe

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About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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