David players say issue overblown

Staff Writer

DAVID — With all of the rumors flying around concerning the dispute between
The David School and Allen Central’s basketball team, players on the David School
team want to set the record straight.

Several weeks ago, the The David School was reported to have voted not to participate
in a basketball game against Allen Central High School due to their use of the
Rebel flag and fear of alleged taunting towards the only African American player
on the team. Following that decision, the David School Board of Directors released
a statement regarding the decision to cancel the game, stating that the decision
was made without the proper authorization from school administrators and therefore
the basketball schedule would stand as it was.

But players on The David School team have a different story as to how the decision
was made to cancel the game. The only African American player on David’s team,
Justin Bryant, says the players were given a choice by their coach, Ned Pillersdorf.

"We were given the option to either play South Floyd or Allen Central,"
said Bryant. "Several of us voted to play South Floyd because of competition,
not the Rebel flag. I don’t have a problem playing Allen Central and I don’t
have a problem with their flag. They have had that flag for a long time and
I don’t see why they should get rid of it now."

Bryant went on to say that he does not believe the flag’s purpose is to symbolize
racism and he does not understand why the situation was blown out of proportion.

Several other players on the team said that it had been mentioned during the
meeting when the game was decided to be canceled that Allen Central had a reputation
for taunting African American players on opposing teams, but this had nothing
to do with their decision to cancel.

"I don’t have any hard feelings towards Allen Central," said David
player Kasey Ousley. "But now everything has been turned into something
it’s not."

Another player on David’s team, Brandon Ratliff, said prior to Friday’s matchup
between the two schools that he thought it would be hard to play Allen Central
again, but also said Allen Central is a good school.

All of the students agreed that they wanted to play South Floyd because they
knew a lot of people who played on the team and they believed it would be a
good competition.

"I don’t have anything against Allen Central. They’re not racist, they
never have been," said Alex Hall, a player for The David School. "It’s
just a school symbol."

Another player commented that he hadn’t ever seen Allen Central fans wave flags
at any particular person in a racist way.

Ned Pillersdorf, coach for the David School team, was a little hesitant to
speak about his players’ decision, saying that he didn’t not want to break the
confidentiality between himself and his team. He did go on to say that the possibility
of taunting was discussed with his players.

"The obvious decision to make when you cancel a game is to replace it,"
said Pillersdorf. "I’m looking at the best interests of my team."

Pillersdorf is confident that his team will not experience any taunting at
future games with Allen Central, saying that Floyd County Supt. Dr. Paul Fanning
assured him that there wouldn’t be any displays of the Rebel flag at the game
scheduled between David and Allen Central on Friday night.

The players for David’s team insist that the Rebel flag had nothing to do with
their decision not to play. They just want the entire situation to be alleviated
because they really don’t have a problem with Allen Central, its basketball
players, or ACHS’s choice to represent their school with the Rebel flag.

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