Andalusia players suspended

Published 12:03 am Friday, October 17, 2014

19 Bulldogs involved in theft at Headland game last week

Nineteen Andalusia varsity football players have been suspended for at least part of tonight’s home game against Montgomery Catholic for stealing candy and coke products at last week’s game in Headland.

Bulldogs head football coach Brian Seymore said that the penalties were handed down to the players on Thursday.

Five of the 19 players took the candy and coke products and distributed them before the game, Seymore said.

“That was five people,” he said. “There were other people involved and it involves them because they took it. It was stolen. I feel like — I told them I’ve got a problem with that. They’re (the 14 other players) as guilty as the people who took it.”

Seymore said the five players who took and distributed the stolen goods have been suspended for the entirety of tonight’s game. The 14 others will have to sit out one half and will need the approval of both the position coach and Seymore to return to the game.

“All week we’ve repped some other players at their positions,” Seymore said. “The deal we made was that nobody that was getting suspended was going to get any playing time at all. They will sit at halftime, they will dress, but will not be guaranteed any playing time at all. That will be a coach’s decision as far as position coaches go, and I will make the final decision.”

Seymore said it’s “unfortunate” that this happened.

“They took it,” he said. “The way I look at it, they were a part of it. I knew I was going to be even across the board.”

Seymore said the alleged thefts took place before the ball game, but he didn’t learn about the incident until after the game. The Bulldogs were getting dressed in the locker room and a door was open to an adjacent room with candy and a cooler full of drinks.

“There wasn’t anything broken or vandalized,” he said. “It’s something we take pride in in making sure we’re cleaning up (after the game). They distributed it out to the team members and some was put in bags.”

When the game was over, Seymore said he asked the players on his bus who were involved to raise their hands.

“I think I had six to eight hands go up,” he said. “Maybe some other guys on the other bus were involved and that we would talk about this Monday.”

Seymore said the players were cooperative and from there, he started communicating back and forth with AHS principal Dr. Daniel Shakespeare.

Shakespeare said in addition to tonight’s athletic penalties, administrative ones will be enforced, also.

Shakespeare said no names are being released, as all of those involved are minors.

“We are very disappointed and embarrassed at what has taken place,” Andalusia City Schools Superintendent Ted Watson said. “We have spoken with officials there, and plan to make full restitution there for products taken.”

Watson said Dr. Shakespeare has handled the investigation and the suspensions relate to athletics. Because athletics are an extension of the school day, there might be other punitive measures taken, he said.

Seymore said probably the most important thing to come of this is that players admitted it was the wrong thing to do.

“Some of our players stepped up and told me it was wrong,” Seymore said. “Some of the players gave the stuff back, but like we said, some folks did the right thing and gave it back, but in the end, it wasn’t something they should’ve been doing. In the end, anybody who was involved in the situation will be penalized, whether they gave it back and we’re going to be even across the board as far as penalties and suspensions. That’s what we’re going to stick with.”