Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

To Walk or Not Walk the Line | Opinions Differ on Shaking Hands after Games in the Aftermath of Brawl

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

To Walk or Not Walk the Line | Opinions Differ on Shaking Hands after Games in the Aftermath of Brawl

Article excerpt

COMMENTARY

SARASOTA -- Johnny Cash walked the line. John Peacock doesn't believe it has a place in high-school football.

Specifically, following a game, when players from both teams ritualistically form a line to shake hands. Since an Oct. 2 post- game fight among players on the North Port and Braden River high football teams, civility and sportsmanship have re-entered the discussion on appropriate player behavior.

The Venice High head football coach doesn't think forcing players to interact immediately after an emotionally charged game represents sportsmanship.

"I've always thought we should do away with it," Peacock said. "Not that I'm a bad sport. I've never not been gracious in defeat. I think it should be more like college. If a kid knows another kid on a different team and he wants to go over and say hello . . . do it. I think the head coaches should go shake hands, but I think we're putting the kids in a bad situation . . . especially since they've been battling against a guy all night long."

Peacock went so far on Tuesday as to approach Venice High athletic director Pete Dombroski about eliminating the practice. "Maybe just calling the (opposing) coach before every game and say we're not trying to be bad sportsmen," Peacock said. "(Dombroski) said it probably needed to come from somebody else, not (him)."

Peacock said in a post-game line earlier this season, an opponent struck an Indian player in the crotch. Venice's cheerleaders also participate, and Peacock said one once was touched inappropriately.

Conversely, following Venice's 56-0 victory over North Port last month, two Indians posed for pictures with one of the Bobcat players suspended for his role in the fight with Braden River.

"They're not there because they want to be there," Peacock said. "They're there because they're made to be there."

Riverview head football coach Todd Johnson disagrees.

"I definitely think they should do it," he said. "They've got to learn how to handle whatever emotion or circumstances they're in. …

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