December 27, 2011
This is supposed to be the season of forgiveness and patience. Evidently someone forgot to tell that to the Marmonte League in the California Interscholastic Federation's Southern Section.
As first reported by the Los Angeles Times, the Marmonte League unilaterally rejected a transfer hardship request submitted by Thousand Oaks (Calif.) High basketball coach Richard Endres on behalf of 17-year-old Derrick "Deejay" Brown, whom Endres has taken under his own legal guardianship. While that might be a completely reasonable decision by a league under normal circumstances, Brown's situation is anything but normal.
The teen, who arrived in Thousand Oaks from Brooklyn, N.Y., was the victim of horrific violence in 2009, when his stepfather attempted to kill both Brown and his mother, Treena Hunter, who are pictured above, by stabbing them in the face.
With his stepfather in jail, Brown spent a year at South Kent School in Connecticut, then decided he needed to start over, so he moved to Southern California. After a season at Simi Valley (Calif.) Stoneridge Prep, where the Brooklyn native was a boarding student, Brown was left with nowhere to go when Endres learned of his precarious situation.
Without thinking twice, the coach did what he thought was right: He took in a teen in need, regardless of who he was on the court. Now, both the player and coach are being punished for what is virtually universally recognized as a truly samaritan act.
As reported by the Times, the Marmonte League principals didn't even let Endres speak at the hearing set up to decide whether or not to approve a waiver of CIF residency requirements which would allow him to play for Thousand Oaks. While Endres wanted to explain why he became Brown's legal guardian, league principals didn't even want to hear his side of the story.
"This was a special case for me," Endres told the Times. "It was my wife's idea. 'Why doesn't he live with us?' I told her, 'This is going to be a rough road and a lot of people are going to talk crap about me.'
"They don't like it he's living with me."
Now, Brown is being deprived of what he truly loves to do, the activity that helps him wash his hands of the horrific violence which has placed its stamp on his life. That hardly seems fair to Brown, Endres or the Thousand Oaks team which has every right to play with him on the court.
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