More about the Connell-Highland basketball video

The Connell-Highland basketball game video keeps creating new stories.

Here are links to a couple more.

The first is from the Yakima Herald-Republic, which covers Highland.

The other is another from the Tri-City Herald on Connell’s first game since the video went viral.

A couple of observations:

A Tri-Cities Sports Officials Association member defended his colleagues, saying, “There were no problems and no fights.” OK, that’s more a credit to the restraint of Highland players than anything the officials did (or didn’t do).

Connell’s Cole Vanderbilt, one of the players featured in the video, did not make the trip to play Columbia-Burbank on Friday and it is not known if he will play again this season. And that’s unfortunate, as are the hate emails to school officials, the calls to the Vanderbilt family and the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts dedicated the issue. Also unfortunate is the school district officials decision to tell the Connell coaches not to talk to the media. I know they’re only trying to shield them from the controversy. But problems don’t go away by sticking your head in the sand. All that silencing the coaches does is send reporters looking elsewhere for comment. Do you really want a parent being your spokesman? It would be better if the coaches said “We’ve got good kids, and they’ve been caught in an unfortunate situation. But we’re just trying to put this behind us and get back to playing basketball.” Enough said.

Michael Christenson, the Highland fan who posted the video to YouTube, released a statement saying the goal of posting the video was to show the lack of control by the game officials and not to admonish the actions of the Connell players. That would be fine if his video showed the plays in question at game speed and showed them once each. That’s how the officials see the game. They don’t get to look at the plays over and over again at ultra-slow speeds. By doing that, Christensen made the Connell players look like thugs, regardless of what his intentions were. Christenson said he sent the video to the WIAA on Dec. 29, but that was one day after he put it up on YouTube. By the time the WIAA replied, returning to work after the holiday weekend, the video had piled up 25,000 views. What he should have done is sent the video to the WIAA and let them deal with the issue. Instead, we have a controversy stirred up because Christenson, an adult, didn’t show the same restraint a week after the game was played that the Highland players showed while the game was being played.

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