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Letter: Don't let four players ruin a whole program

By Jean Shively, Oakdale

My son, Matt Shively, is No. 40 on the Minnesota West Bluejays football team. My husband and I are so very proud of him and of the great team they had this year. We got to know quite a few of the players, and they are such a great bunch of guys. Our son and several other players worked on part of the cleanup after the terrible ice storm last winter. Minnesota West, you should be very proud of your players and your football team. What a terrific win over the Rochester Yellow Jackets this year!

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I am responding to the article about the probation of athletics programs at Minnesota West Community and Technical College that is a result of the fight at the MCAC playoff football game at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. It was a pretty intense game, especially after losing there a few weeks earlier. Central Lakes simply outplayed Minnesota West, with a good quarterback and a 6-foot-8 wide receiver.

After the game, the Minnesota West players started to line up to shake hands, as is done after every game at all levels. Then the Minnesota West players noticed that Central Lakes was leaving the field, mocking the Bluejays and not going to shake hands. Central Lakes went behind a fence and started jumping up and down and celebrating. This really made the Bluejays upset. About four of the Bluejay players jumped the fence and started some sort of a fight — I did not see any of this. This was definitely not acceptable, and these four players should be disciplined. The entire team should not be disciplined. The other 50-60 players stayed out of the way.

The Blue Jays started to head toward their bus. That’s when some fans who had been drinking since before the game started calling out racial slurs against our black players and also used the “N” word. This is totally unacceptable. Unfortunately, some more fighting occurred. This lasted about a minute. This was a very regrettable way to end a football game.

It would be a horrible loss to the community of Worthington if they were to lose the football program. We had never been to Worthington until two years ago. Everywhere we went, when we mentioned our son played for the Blue Jays, people wished him and the team well — whether we are at the Blue Line Café, the Travelodge, the AmericInn, Slumberland, the ER at the hospital or McDonald’s. Everybody knew Coach Linder and what a great community person he is. He is very well liked in Worthington. (He also gets the privilege of washing the player’s uniforms).

The city of Worthington and the entire Minnesota West College should be extremely proud of Coach Linder and his dedicated and hard-working coaching staff. Their experienced trainer, Mr. Krekelberg, is well trained and visits all injured players at the ER — and the away players as well. Coach Barber is a fantastic defensive coach, Coach Basset is very popular, and Coach Lai and Coach DeVries are great coaches, as well as the dedicated Coach Holinka.

Obviously, the Minnesota West football team is very important to the college and to the city of Worthington. Minnesota West has had a football team for many years. Although we have only been a part of it for two years, it would be a terrible loss to the college and the community if this were to end. The entire football program should not be disciplined for the actions of only four of its players.

Go Bluejays!

Jean Shively