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Domestic violence in sports
It starts at the high school level
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You could hear a calm bellow of “Amen” from the Salem Seminoles gathered in the middle of their field after a goal-line stand against Winder-Barrow that gave them a 31-24 win on Friday night. The team was praying after a short celebration of the win, Salem coach John Starr gathered his team to talk them about the game and after that they all prayed together.

“On a regular basis, we try to talk to our players about doing what’s right,” Starr said.

With all of the stuff going on in the pros with players and domestic violence — a sensitive issue that is bigger than the NFL — talking to high school athletes about what’s right is pertinent to their development not only as players but as men.
At the high school level, more than likely, you won’t find any domestic violence cases but preventing kids from doing so in the future is a step that Newton/Rockdale coaches have taken. For all of them, however, teaching kids goes beyond domestic violence.

“Always,” Terrance Banks, Newton High School football coach, said. “The most important thing here for our football team is not winning games. The most important thing for us as our motto and our goals are first that every child graduates high school that plays football. So we talk about education and respect for women and doing the right thing all of the time. It’s the forefront of everything that we do.”

Pretty much every high school football team in the surrounding areas have female trainers and water girls that are constantly with the team at practice and games. Having females around has not been a problem for Eastside High football coach Rick Hurst.

“We just talk about respect,” Hurst, who is a husband and has a son and a daughter, said. “We’ve always had girls around us, with our trainers and our managers. I’ve never, ever had an issue and I always tell our girls to come and let me know. I’ve never had a girl come and say there was a bad thing said to ‘em. It just doesn’t happen. They (the players) know where I stand as far as family is concerned and what I think about women and how important they are. My family and all. I don’t think that’s an issue, but if we had to address it I have a no tolerance. They’d be done just like anything else. It’s just something you don’t do. You just don’t put your hands on a woman.”

Heritage coach Wendell Early hasn’t necessarily talked to his kids about domestic violence, but more so about good behavior, which in a sense underlines domestic violence.

“We have concentrated on making every effort to teach our players correct behavior, correct ways to deal with adversity and disappointment,” Early said. “We try to teach them what things in life are really important in hopes of helping them build a strong sense of proper priorities.”