A Thanksgiving football tradition is embroiled in controversy.
At Woodrow Wilson High School Monday they protested after learning their team has been ousted from the city championship Turkey Bowl because officials determined one of Wilson’s players lives in Maryland, not D.C.
“We’re rallying together because again, this is unfair. The boys have worked really hard and today they are missing the luncheon,” says Sherry Cooper.
Anacostia High will take on Dunbar High School, the reigning champs. It’s a big deal for the players.
“This is the second time in the last three years that one of the teams that was supposed to be here was removed at the last minute,” says one player.
Two years ago Dunbar took on Woodson in the game after Ballou was kicked out over a player’s eligibility. The chancellor lamented on what’s happened.
“This thing is horrible for all the children involved,” says Kaya Henderson.
The mayor, also at the luncheon, blamed schools like Wilson.
“They should have known they shouldn’t have had a player from Maryland,” says Vincent Gray. “That’s where it starts at the school level.”
The Wilson player’s eligibility came up after he was arrested at home in Maryland and charged with armed robbery. The issue of residency is an old one, says one parent who’s been active in coaching D.C. high school sports.
“There are a lot of illegal ball players in D.C.,” says Marvin Tucker. “Put it this way. There are a lot of illegal students in the District of Columbia that attend D.C. public school. Be it athletically or educationally, there are a lot of students who attend school in this city who don’t live in this city.”