If you want to be a high-school kicker in Mississippi, make sure you leave the pink cleats at home.
Coy Sheppard, a 17-year-old senior kicker for Mendenhall High School, was kicked off the football team last month for wearing pink cleats to practice. After wearing the cleats during an October 8 game, he was reprimanded by coach Chris Peterson and told not to wear the cleats again. So when he showed up to practice on October 11 with the pink cleats, Sheppard was promptly dismissed from the team.Tom Duncan, Simpson County School District Deputy Superintendent, said Sheppard was not dismissed because of his shoe color, but because he ignored his coach’s orders.
The cleats, according to Sheppard, were a gift from his great-grandmother. He wore them in honor of his grandmother and step-grandmother, both cancer survivors.
Last week, Sheppard filed a lawsuit against the school district to protest his dismissal. Yesterday, Sheppard’s team dropped the suit after the two sides came to an agreement and Sheppard was allowed back on the team. He will not wear the pink cleats any more.
Sheppard said he only wore the cleats to honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month:
The more I hear about it, the more I want to help. If I could, I’d probably wear an all pink (uniform).
Which points to the main question in this whole debacle: why wasn’t Sheppard allowed to wear the pink cleats? According to USA Today, Sheppard has worn other colored cleats without a problem, but that’s a non-issue. Other players on the team wore pink gear to the October 8 game, so why the big deal over Sheppard’s cleats?
It wasn’t just another case of a coach losing his cool mid-game and saying something stupid, which happens all the time. No, otherwise he wouldn’t have kicked Sheppard off the team three days later. There’s something more here. We know no one really likes kickers, but this went a few steps too far. Peterson has yet to comment on the situation, so there’s no reason to believe we’ll be hearing from him any time soon. It looks like we’ll just be left to wonder.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.