Lacrosse Seniors Banned From Team and State Championship Over Picture Smoking Cigars At Graduation

article-2651530-1E8DAEBA00000578-45_634x451There is a controversy in Massachusetts where two high school seniors have been kicked off their lacrosse team (and will be barred from the state championship) because they were photographed smoking victory cigars at their graduation ceremony. Here is the interesting twist. The school acknowledges that players were not in violation of state law, but will be barred under a Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rule on drugs and alcohol.

The MIAA handbook states

From the earliest fall practice date, to the conclusion of the academic year or final athletic event (whichever is latest), a student shall not, regardless of the quantity, use, consume, possess, buy/sell, or give away any beverage containing alcohol; any tobacco product(including e-cigarettes); marijuana; steroids; or any controlled substance. This policy includes products such as “NA or near beer”. It is not a violation for a student to be in possession of a legally defined drug specifically prescribed for the student’s own use by his/her doctor.

However, state law allows for anyone over 18 to smoke, though some towns recently moved to increase that age limit.

Tobacco is still a lawful product and it is not a product that endangers other players like alcohol or illegal drugs. It is also a product that, while clearly unhealthy, does not necessarily endanger the 18 and older players.

I find smoking highly unpleasant and I am astonished that people still smoke. However, I find the line here rather uncertain given the legality of the practice. These students were only smoking cigars, a traditional way of celebrating an occasion. It is not even clear that they are regular smokers. I would feel the same way about a picture of an 18-year-old taking a sip of champagne. While illegal, it is a common allowance among parents. In this way, it is not even unlawful.

I recognize that an association can impose any rules as a precondition for participants so long as it is not itself unlawful. However, this seems a bit harsh to me. This is not only a heavy sanction for these teenagers but could impact their college plans. The fact that a teenager accepted a cigar at a celebration seems pretty minor. I expect that plenty of athletes have such moments but are fortunate enough not to end up on the cover of the local paper.

What do you think?

Source: Boston

38 thoughts on “Lacrosse Seniors Banned From Team and State Championship Over Picture Smoking Cigars At Graduation”

  1. nick, I guess in your book missing a championship game is a nothing.

  2. “Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rule on drugs and alcohol.”

    Does this include caffeine, Ibuprofen, asprin, Alka Seltzer Cold Medicine, etc.? Does the rule include off camera or is it limited to on camera use?

  3. I agree the penalty is overboard. But I have never understood the standard, liberal combo of support for cigars and yet opposition to cigarettes. Arnold schwarzenegger led the way to popularize cigar smoking in popular culture, while Rush Limbaugh did the same thing for baby boomers. Indeed, we are a nation of people under the spell of popular culture. In this way, we are too indoctrinated to even know that we are indoctrinated.

  4. There will miss no games since they all graduated. Much ado about nothing. But, the nannies love to nanny. I had a mother come up to me once and express her concern that the boys I coached were eating sunflower seeds on the bench while playing baseball. She was concerned w/ the sodium intake. Firstly, it was a hot day and the boys were sweating their asses off. So, the salt was good. I always had plenty of water. Secondly, I told the helicopter mom that when I was her son’s age we chewed tobacco,high sugar bubble gum, or a hybrid. while playing baseball. And, that she should be grateful sunflower seeds were what they chose. She huffed away. Men need to be in charge of young men, not mommies.

  5. Don, as I read the rule, whether the violation occurred on school property or not is irrelevant.

  6. The sanction is unjust. But, as the Jamaican Reggie singer sang: “The Surgeon General Warns: Cigarette smoking is dangerous. A hazard to your health. Does that mean anything to you?” Bob Marley goes on in the song to advocate smoking pot. But, the sentence by the author above is highly suspect and embarks on violation of the civility rule. Here it is: “Tobacco is still a lawful product and it is not a product that endangers other players like alcohol or illegal drugs. It is also a product that, while clearly unhealthy, does not necessarily endanger the 18 and older players.” Most smokers start dying off at about 58 years old. The three causes of death, in addition to the tobacco, are: heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema. Tobacco is a product which endangers others when they are nearby. We call that “Second Hand Smoke”. Tobacco does necessarily endanger the 18 and older players. It endangers any human. Does the Surgeon General’s warning mean anything to Y’all?

  7. I don’t see that the rule is ambiguous. It clearly states the time frame: “From the earliest fall practice date, to the conclusion of the academic year or final athletic event (whichever is latest)” and the products to be avoided, including all tobacco products. These two seniors clearly violated the rule. What I don’t see is the punishment for the violation. If the book so clearly lays out the punishment as being dropped from the team, out they go. Enforce the rule or change it.

    1. bettykath, the penalty is not to be kicked off the team. For the first offense, the penalty is that the athlete loses eligibility for the next consecutive interscholastic contests (regular season and tournament) totaling 25% of all interscholastic contests in that sport. If there are 7 or less events in the season, that means the athlete misses the next game. If there are 8 to 11 events in a season, then the athlete is taken out of the next two games. If there are 12 to 15 games, then the athlete is taken out of the next three games. I think that is the case here. If there are less than 3 games left in the season, and these are seniors who will not play again, then they are effectively off the team.

  8. These students should have kept the cigar stunt off school property.
    If they were 18 and graduating from high school, how do they get kicked off a team?

  9. Massachusetts is as fundamentalist as the bible belt, just about stuff like this. Smoking is verboten!!! Young men being manly, double verboten.

  10. Is not graduation, “the conclusion of the academic year…” and therefore beyond the reach of the rule?

  11. Absolutely ridiculous. I’m left leaning and think most conservative complaints about culture are BS, but this really is nanny statism that deserves to be excoriated.

  12. Obviously the MIAA desires to create high standards. Did you notice that even non-alcoholic beer was forbidden? Clearly they see athletes as role models and did not want the kind of photo-op displayed here happening that would encourage others to smoke cigars in celebration.

    The real question here is whether the athletic association standards are in step with our modern culture. Should athletes encourage smoking tobacco products by making it look cool?

  13. Jamie – your story of afterschool brought a smile. 🙂

  14. Mindful vrs minless. If you don’t have a mind to use, go for mindless.

  15. Harsh indeed, but today’s ‘education’ system prefers robots to humans. When I was in high school – Catholic no less – a friend of mine and I were sentenced to after school ‘study’ room for some silly act of teen stupidity. We saw that the study room warden was smoking, so we naturally lit up thinking it was ok to smoke. Needless to say, it was not ok for students in the after school study room to smoke. I was still permitted to play sports, but I did serve a few extra days in the study room.

  16. Had the school considered this might weaken their chances of winning the state title? I guess zero tolerance is more urgent.

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