Photo: Inglewood Football Coach Mil’Von James (Nick Koza/Photo)
Posted: November 8, 2021 | Kenneth Miller | Inglewood Today
Coaches push the athletes they train to put their all into mastering the mental and physical aspects of their sport, preparing them to edge out competitors and perform at the height of their abilities.
But there are real-life situations, it seems, when attaining excellence proves to be too much – or maybe just not good enough.
This seems to have been the case Oct. 29 when an impressive shutout victory for Inglewood High School in Los Angeles County ended up turning into a bitter crosstown game of guilt, blame and grievances. That day, Inglewood High football coach and former Cleveland Browns defensive back Mil’Von James led his team to a 106-0 victory over rivals Morningside high.
Since that shellacking, education authorities have blasted James and Inglewood High for being too focused on winning that they failed to exhibit a spirit of compassion and sportsmanship.
The California Interscholastic Federation -Southern Section (CIFSS), the governing body of high school athletics in the state, released a scathing statement regarding the wide margin of the game’s final score.
“The CIF Southern Section expects that all athletic contests are to be conducted under the strictest code of good sportsmanship. “We expect coaches, players, officials, administrators and students to adhere to the Six Pillars of Character – Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship,” CIF-SS fired off in a statement.
“A score of 106-0 does not represent these ideals,” the statement continued. “The CIF-SS condemns, in the strongest terms, results such as these. It is our expectation that the Inglewood administration will work towards putting in place an action plan so that an event such as this does not repeat itself.”
James, 38, said it was not his intention to degrade or demoralize the Morningside High team.
“I apologized for the way things turned out,” James said even though, during the game, he benched his defensive starters after the second quarter and most of his other frontline players in the second half.
But Inglewood continued to run up the score on its hapless opponent.
Anyone who knows James personally would know – and can attest to the fact -- that his intent was never to bring shame to the game that he loves.
Coaches like James who have played college and pro-football understand the fierce competitiveness it requires for young people to succeed when pursuing careers as professional athletes. They train their students to be warriors, to dominate their opponents. Varsity sports is the highest level of competition in high school. Today, the advancement of training techniques and year-round coaching and development increases the likelihood that schools with the resources will outperform schools with sports programs that are underfunded or under-supported.
Since he became coach at Inglewood High three seasons ago, James has taken the team from a losing streak to being nearly undefeated. During that time, the team has moved from CIF-SS Division 13 to Division 2.
Inglewood student athletes have advantages in coaching and preparation that Morningside and many other schools do not.
James was a star on the football squad at Fremont High School in Los Angeles where he graduated in 2003. In college, he first played for the UNLV Rebels where he led the nation in passes; before transferring to UCLA and playing for the Bruins from 2003-2005.
After brief stints in the NFL and the Canadian Football League on the roster for the Cleveland Browns and the Vancouver Lions respectively, James began coaching high school football.
He is the founder and director of one of most successful 7 on 7 leagues in the nation, responsible for scores of future and current high school, collegiate and professional players.
Chances are, if you have observed any top football program in California, you have you witnessed his impact on young players, their development and their unmatched leadership skills – on the field and off it.
The Inglewood Unified School District also blasted James and Inglewood High.
“Regarding Inglewood H.S. vs. Morningside H.S. Friday night 10/29 game, we at the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) are saddened beyond words by the events that transpired at the football game Friday between Inglewood and Morningside high schools,” the IUSD stamen read. “We will conduct a full investigation and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that a similar outcome never happens again under an IUSD athletic program.”
High school sports, in many schools, is a training ground for college and pro athletes. Schools that have better resources will always have an edge.
It is unfortunate that this incident has placed a dark cloud over a high school sports program. Inglewood High’s football program should be celebrated for its league championship and undefeated record in a school district that is still in state receivership.
About the Author
Kenneth Miller is the publisher of Inglewood Today.
August 24, 2021 By Rick Callender
On September 14 a special election will be held to determine whether Governor Gavin Newsom should be recalled. This is only the fourth time in American history - that a state has held a gubernatorial recall election. The last gubernatorial recall election in California took place nearly 20 years ago.
This recall election was triggered after the Secretary of State certified that 1.7 million Californians signed a petition demanding a vote to remove Newsom from the office he assumed in January 2019. Under state law, to initiate a recall, proponents need to collect the signatures of enough registered voters to equal 12% of the turnout in the prior governor’s race.
The recall ballots will ask two questions. The first is a simple yes-or-no question: should Newsom be recalled. If 50% or more of voters mark ‘NO’ then the effort to recall Newsom is defeated. However, if more than 50% mark ‘YES’ then the second question comes into play: who should replace him? There are 46 names on the ballot and the candidate with the most votes, as dictated by state law, will become governor for the remainder of Newsom’s term – which is through January 2023.
Whether or not you support Newsom your vote in this election matters.
When we cast a vote, we win. We are represented. That’s the power that lies at the heart of the democratic process. It is the beauty of having free and fair elections.
Blacks Americans have a long history of struggling to exercise their right as citizens to vote. Those who came of age before 1965, less than 60 years ago, felt it all too keenly, particularly in the South, where they were systematically turned away from polling places. Once they secured the vote, the idea of not even attempting to participate in an election would have been an abdication of their rights as Americans.
The people we entrust with our vote to lead us -- whether it is at the federal, state, or local level – are responsible for developing policies and legislation that affect how safe we are in our homes and communities, our access to quality health care and education, the financial opportunities available to us, and more.
An outcome of the 2020 Presidential election cycle has been an extension of the unprecedented assault on voting rights beginning with the Supreme Court decision, Shelby v. Holder (2013), weakening the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and has led to more laws restricting our ability to vote.
California has taken extraordinary steps to remove barriers and increase access to the polls, setting the national standard for what free and fair elections should look like. We cannot afford to be complacent and watch like spectators as our rights are rolled back, our interests are ignored, and our power is discounted. This recall election will be a crucial test of our will as voters.
Sometimes it might feel like democracy happens election by election, step by step, once every two or even four years. But democracy doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t take a day off. It’s a constant process, happening all the time, whether we choose to engage or not. It’s messy, ugly, hard work. Not voting is just as much an act of democracy as is voting – refusing to participate is a choice.
Every registered voter will automatically receive a ballot. Vote by mail started Aug 16. The last day to register to vote is August 30. However, you can “conditionally” register and vote at your county elections office or polling location after the voter registration deadline, up to and including Election Day. It’s a chance we must seize, regardless of party affiliation – our democracy, our community, our lives depend on it.
Rick L. Callender, Esq. is the President of the California/Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP.