Camden, NJ, Banned from High School Playoffs After On-field Violence
Camden High School has been banned from the football playoffs following an on-field fight involving several players.
We understand our students, like many students in the region and country, are relearning to negotiate personal spaces with their peers. - Camden Schools Superintendent Katrina McCombs
The ruling was handed down by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. In a statement, the NJSIAA said, "As per NJSIAA rules, any player or coach ejected before, during, or after an interscholastic event for unsportsmanlike, flagrant verbal or physical misconduct will be disqualified from the next regularly scheduled game."
Last Saturday's game involving Camden and Pleasantville was ended when a fight broke out among several players from both teams. There were some reports players removed their helmets and were swinging them as a weapon. Several players were ejected from the game before referees canceled remaining play.
Following an on-field altercation during a recent football game, between the Camden and Pleasantville high school football teams, players from both teams were ejected and disqualified for unsportsmanlike, flagrant conduct. The on-field altercation led to the early termination of the game during the fourth quarter. As per NJSIAA rules, any player or coach ejected before, during, or after an interscholastic event for unsportsmanlike, flagrant verbal or physical misconduct will be disqualified from the next regularly scheduled game. Further, any varsity team accumulating three or more player or coach disqualifications for flagrant, unsportsmanlike conduct prior to the start of a tournament - as is the case for Camden - will not be permitted to participate in that tournament. - NJSIAA
This is just the latest incident involving violence at a Camden football game. A week before the incident with Pleasantville, Camden was playing Pennsauken when a fight erupted outside the stadium. The game was canceled early to avoid the fight from spilling into the stadium.
In 2019, the last time Camden played at Pleasantville, gunfire erupted. In the chaos, a 10-year-old boy was shot and killed.
Camden School Superintendent Katrina McCombs said she was disappointed by the decision, but hoped it could be used as a "teachable moment." McCombs alluded to the isolation during pandemic remote learning playing a role in the incident. "We understand our students, like many students in the region and country, are relearning to negotiate personal spaces with their peers," McCombs said in a statement.
Parents and students at Camden High School were frustrated, disappointed, and angry over the ban on post-season play. Some parents said the ruling was unfair because not everyone is being held to account equally.
Senior Nyair Graham told 6ABC news in Philadelphia, "It broke our hearts because football is all we got. We've been playing this since we were 5 years old."
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