Friday, October 24, 2014

Weasel of the Week: Whitehall Board of Education

This was too easy.

Six days ago, a brawl broke out halfway through the 3rd quarter of a high school football game between Whitehall & Rensselaer, with Whitehall leading, 28-6. Two days later, Whitehall coach Justin Culligan was fired from that position, though retaining his teaching job. A Board meeting last night didn't solve anything, as a 6-2 (1 abstention) vote affirmed the dismissal, much to the disgust of the community assemblage at the meeting.

Earlier this week, Time Warner Cable Sports analyst James Allen, otherwise a high school beat reporter for the Albany Times-Union, offered what was likely the motive for the firing. He noted that this same Board had voted to remove Culligan back in July, but reversed field a month later. His predecessor, John Millet, was inducted into the Capital District Football Hall of Fame last year, but it seems that Millet may have some powerful, influential friends on the Board who were looking for an excuse to dismiss Culligan. The brawl gave them that excuse on the proverbial silver platter.

The Board has refused to explain why they fired Culligan, despite numerous requests. They're citing personnel confidentiality issues. Bollocks! It's a political hot potato, clearly, and they don't want to risk naming a new coach now, with Whitehall's 1st playoff game a week away. If they ask Millet to come back, there will, in all probability, be more protests, and Millet will be caught in the firestorm as an innocent bystander, one who'd only be back on the sidelines because the Board wants him there. The Board, as a collective, because they voted unanimously in the first place, with three people backpedaling last night, gets the Weasel ears this week, for, ahem, railroading Culligan, who attempted to play peacemaker in the fight, off the field, when an assistant coach, clearly more involved, wasn't dismissed himself. Eventually, the truth will come out, as painful as it will be for a small town who've come together for a common goal.

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