St. Paul's did the right thing

Sportsmanship: Holding athletes to standards of conduct on and off the field is what schools are for.

April 05, 2001

THERE'S something refreshing about the decision at St. Paul's School for Boys to hold athletes to the standards of behavior that apply to other students.

Too often in scholastic as well as professional sports that doesn't happen.

To repeat an oft-told tale: A junior varsity lacrosse player secretly videotaped himself having sex with a girl from another private school.

The tape was shown to other members of the lacrosse team, who appear for the most part not to have protested or reported this tasteless display of the possibly illegal videotape.

The "lack of respect for another human being" referred to by Daniel R. Baker, president of St. Paul's board of trustees, in a letter to parents and alumni gets to the heart of this disgusting incident.

The actions announced by headmaster Robert W. Hallett -- including expulsion of the student who made the video, cancellation of the remaining varsity lacrosse season, counseling and education for students who saw the video -- are appropriate.

Disciplinary actions against three other students were under consideration.

There were more than sufficient grounds not only for disciplining individuals but also for canceling lacrosse games and practices and removing some players from this year's junior varsity squad.

The goal is not to tarnish St. Paul's luster as the nation's premier high school lacrosse team this year, but to retrieve its reputation in future years.

And for any seniors whose college admissions or scholarships might have been put in jeopardy, the lessons are that education is more important than lacrosse and that team membership carries responsibilities to teammates.

Sportsman-like behavior is an enduring value that should be taught and reinforced on the lacrosse field, and off.

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