Fear Not, My Friends, the VPA Is On the Case

Oh boy, we’ve had another incident of abuse and taunting at a high school sports event.

According to the Morrisville News & Citizen, last week’s girls’ soccer playoff game between Lamoille Union High School and Missisquoi Union High School was rife with abuse from the home Missisquoi crowd. They reportedly showered the Lamoille team with “repeated harassment, sexualization and debasement” throughout the match, according to a statement from Lamoille administration. More from the statement:

“Those gathered on the sidelines directed their comments at the players’ weight, chest sizes and disparaging their physical appearances. In addition, other players reported repeated comments about their families and parents. The level of spectator comments exceeded typical razzing of visiting players and support of their home team.”

It gets worse. Lamoille says the game officials did nothing to stop the abuse, which left some players asking to be taken out of the game or switched to positions away from the home crowd. The officials said the abuse wasn’t “mean enough” to warrant action.

These are the same officials who read the newly-minted Vermont Principals’ Association code of behavior before the match began. So we know exactly what that’s worth.

It shouldn’t surprise you that VPA chief Jay Nichols completely failed to step up to the situation.

His helpful advice: The Lamoille coach could have pulled her team off the field — which would expose them to the possibility of being bounced from the playoffs via forfeit.

“If I’m saying, ‘My team is being threatened, I’m not playing anymore,’ I can end the game right there,” Nichols said. “That could end up being a forfeit, depending on what the situation is and what the referees say happened, what everybody says happened.”

That sounds like the forfeit could have gone either way, which is a hell of a risk for a coach to take. Needless to say, it shouldn’t be the only option. One would hope that this situation will put more pressure on the VPA or state officials to, you know, actually DO SOMETHING.

Meanwhile, as was the case with the Enosburg/Winooski incident, the only investigation is being conducted by the home team’s administration.





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