Last week, Brooke (W. Va.) High vaulted into the state's Class AAA football championship game thanks to a legal challenge against the team that had eliminated it, South Charleston (W. Va.) High. That challenge was based on the alleged ineligibility of two players who had been involved in a fight after a quarterfinal victory, an action that brings with it a standard suspension of at least one game, based on the idea that any fighting incident is the equivalent of two (or more) personal foul penalties.
Yet, when Brooke got to play in the state title game itself, it's players were even more undisciplined, earning an astounding 10 personal foul penalties in the course of a 30-0 rout that handed Martinsburg (W. Va.) High the state title it waited an extra week to play for.
Amazingly, those 10 personal fouls might not even be the most significant violations turned in by Brooke players in the game. Two Brooke players are now facing suspension or detention for their actions in the game which didn't earn a personal foul. According to West Virginia's WTOV-TV, one of those players acted inappropriately to a Martinsburg player while the other attacked a Brooke fan who attempted to calm him down during the rout.
Combined with the 10 personal fouls which were assessed, Brooke principal Toni Shute was so embarrassed by the actions of her school's student athletes that she issued a formal apology via local media outlets.
"Despite falling short on the scoreboard, the majority of our Bruins were outstanding representatives of our school. Unfortunately, the words "outstanding" and "sportsmanship" did not apply equally to the behavior of a few Brooke players and some Brooke fans.
"As Brooke High's principal, I am very disappointed that any of our student-athletes would engage in behavior that is out of line with the values of this community. While we encourage student-athletes to vigorously play the game, we expect them to do so in a way that reflects our pride, not disrespect for the rules of the game or its participants. I am also embarrassed by the behavior of some of our fans, and I deeply regret that they managed to spoil the opportunity for others to enjoy what should have been a terrific contest between two talented teams."
The conduct of Brooke's players would have been questionable enough without the additional attention brought by the school's lawsuit against South Charleston. It looks much more hypocritical when held up to the light of a court appeal which the school based on the idea of fair play, something the Bruins didn't live up to themselves when the lights were shining brightest.