High School Football Scandal Rocks LaSalle-Peru

If we needed any more evidence that the mantra of football has become “win at all costs,” we need look no further than a distasteful, and potentially-dangerous, episode that occurred at La Salle-Peru Township High School, 90 miles southwest of Chicago.

We haven’t hidden our near-obsession with the dangers to youngsters who are athletes, and this latest story has reinforced these feelings. If you are a parent debating whether or not to allow your child to join the team, this news should give you the backbone to just say no.

The LaSalle News Tribune first reported that school officials alerted varsity football players and their parents about packets of information circulating that included, “a scouting report on 22 Cavalier players listed by name and position, including…. information about their mental and physical strengths and weaknesses as well as … specifics on past injuries and concussions.”

Shockingly, the school did not learn about the predatory package until after the season-opening football game at Rock Island when that school’s coach revealed his receipt of the potentially-life threatening information. It was later learned that nine schools, who oppose La Salle-Peru on the field, received the packet.

La Salle-Peru school superintendent Steve Wrobleski said, “The piece that was most troubling and quite honestly sickening to us is there was a page that said, ‘This athlete has a knee injury so if he’s in there, take him out and they won’t score.’”

Athletic director D’Wayne Bates, who played five-plus seasons in the NFL, said, “Being in football as long as I have as player in high school, college and pro, this is arguably the most unsafe part of football, where there is kind of a ‘hit list’ or a ‘bounty.’”

The Chicago Tribune, in a scathing editorial titled, “Football and sabotage” was horrified that  “Not one of those nine recipient schools promptly notified LaSalle-Peru, …that someone had perpetrated this act of sabotage. ..Does it occur to you that your school’s negligence when confronted with a plot to injure teenagers could stick you with a pile of legal bills?”

The Tribune, in its outrage, which we mirror, said, “One adult at any of nine schools — an educator motivated by no regulation more formal than the golden rule — could have taken one look and immediately phoned LaSalle-Peru. But nobody did.”

Published by the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Romanucci & Blandin

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