MURRELL COLUMN: Yearly controversy hits home

Published 8:32 pm Thursday, September 15, 2016

Aw, great. A local athlete is possibly ineligible to play.
Will we ever go through a season when this isn’t a possibility? No.
Sadly, it’s to be expected. We just never expect where it will happen, locally or further away.
Therein lies the surprise.
If you’re looking for facts into a situation that now has Nederland’s first victory of the season hanging in the balance, none have surfaced. And, quite honestly, with no allegiance to any school necessary, it adds to a sense of frustration.
It’s frustrating when any football game cannot remain decided on the field. Too much goes into preparing and playing a game, but you don’t really want to sit and read all that schmooze, do you?
There’s no 500-word column I can offer to explain the frustration, and it wouldn’t matter what school is affected. The only judgment that matters will be handed down from the UIL in Austin, not me or anyone else in Southeast Texas.
But there is plenty of anxiety going around.
In Nederland, coach Larry Neumann deserves to know whether Kevin Laday can return to the football field. Laday and his teammates deserve to know. Livingston deserves to know what the UIL said.
And so do those at Port Arthur Memorial and Port Neches-Groves.
You want to know. We want to know. And there’s no timeline for finding out.
Therein rests the frustration with such a yearly occurrence of controversy throughout America. Meanwhile, let’s hope associations like the UIL will institute, if they don’t have one, a clearinghouse to prevent such matters.

Consider what NBA star Stephen Curry told ESPN about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of racial inequality in America during the “Star-Spangled Banner”:
“If you follow the way [Kaepernick] talks and the message he’s trying to send with his act, from his mouth, he’s not disrespecting veterans. He’s not disrespecting military. That’s not his intention. He’s obviously continued the act to create a conversation for more social justice and things of that nature. … And so, that’s not the way that I would do it, but I support him in his attempt to start a conversation or continue the conversation.”
Responses vary when the question of exactly what the “Star-Spangled Banner” honors. Some say the United States. Some say the people who fought for her. Some say the American flag. Some say the freedoms we enjoy.
Most will say “all of the above.”
The reason for honoring the national anthem may be indefinite, but the punishment for exercising the freedom not to isn’t. It’s definitely no punishment.
What’s really striking is that out of all the controversy surrounding Kap’s protest, I have yet to hear or see a conversation directly born from it.
That doesn’t mean we’re not talking about injustice. But it’s time to turn attention from the protest to the conversation.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or On Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

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About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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