Last weekend's football action saw one of the best comeback wins of the season when Greenbrier scored 19 fourth-quarter points to beat Richmond Academy on a last-second play.
Overshadowed in the Greenbrier comeback was the notable absence of one of the top Wolfpack football players: senior Salonick Amos. In fact, I'd argue it was Amos' absence at cornerback that allowed Richmond Academy to score two touchdowns on passes to the corner of the end zone to help mount a 24-7 lead.
Amos, a starting cornerback and receiver for Greenbrier, was nowhere in sight at the game. He was suspended from school and the team earlier that Friday because he was caught with drugs.
Yes, it seems Amos has fallen into that wicked spiral of drug abuse, and it's fortunate that the school system caught him in time before his addiction got too far out of hand.
What drug got him? What was it that earned him a full suspension from high school? Which addicting tool of the devil kept him from playing in a key region football game? What illegal drug brought his entire high school education and football career to a full stop? Was it cocaine? Pot? Maybe methamphetamine?
No. It was Bayer aspirin.
Sound crazy? That's what happened, and it's ridiculous.
Amos isn't addicted to drugs. He doesn't have a drug problem. He has a past groin injury.
His physical therapist suggested he take Bayer aspirin to help deal with any lingering pain during football games on Friday nights. When he got to school this particular Friday morning, he said he was running behind and stuffed the aspirin in his bookbag so he wouldn't be late for class.
It was clearly a mistake. He broke a well-known rule. A countywide policy states that students needing to take any type of medication at school must leave it at the school's front office.
For breaking that rule, Amos' punishment came down hard from a system apparently free of the shackles of common sense. He wasn't issued a verbal warning or reprimanded for his mistake. He wasn't given in-school suspension. Instead, Amos was kicked out of school.
He might still be suspended had a hearing not been fast-tracked to the following Tuesday. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and Amos was reinstated with no further punishment.
It's good to see that, given time, the system worked itself out and no further harm was done. On the other hand, I can't help but shake my head and think, "Are you kidding me? Did this really happen?"
The damage was done when a student missed two days of classes (usually it's more) and a football game because of aspirin. I hope there were no tests in any of his classes on those days. I hope a college scout didn't come to that football game hoping to check out Amos' skills for a possible scholarship.
Before the e-mails come pouring in, let me clarify a bit. I can't fault the policy. We certainly can't have students running around our schools with medicine that could potentially be shared or abused. But the severity of the punishment is another thing.
Basically put, an offensive lineman doesn't get ejected from a game for a false start. Likewise, a student shouldn't be kicked out of school for a bottle of aspirin.
I'm not just talking about athletes here. The punishment is way too extreme for any student. Columbia County school board member Mike Sleeper agreed.
"I understand the reason behind the policy and the no-tolerance and all that, but let's get real here," he said. "Worse-case scenario, it can cost a student a scholarship or put them off track for graduation. I don't know how or what the best solution is, but something needs to be done."
It's already too late for Amos. Fortunately, the rest of the Wolfpack were able to pull off a miracle comeback. Amos is back on the team now, and his path toward graduation and a possible football scholarship seem to be alive.
Hopefully, a standard but overzealous punishment policy won't be.
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