By Anthony Rhoads
In the four years I have been a sports writer I have gotten pretty familiar with the Georgia High School Association white book.
The white book contains the GHSA's rules and regulations for high school athletics and activities in the state of Georgia.
One of the rules that I really have a problem with is rule 2.82 (e), which is under the broadcast rules and regulations for regular-season high school games.
The rule 2.82 (e) states that ?announcers shall not criticize coaches, officials or schools, and shall be fair and impartial in their descriptions.'
So I guess if a coach gets ejected, an official makes an extremely bad call, if a player displays unsportsmanlike conduct or if a bunch of fans get into a brawl at the game, then the broadcasters shouldn't say anything about it and the print journalists shouldn't write about it.
If a coach threatens to beat up an official, if a player makes an obscene gesture to the crowd or if a group of players get busted for marijuana and then get caught stealing stuff during a football camp, they deserve to be criticized in the media.
Sometimes there are some rotten things that go on in high school sports that need to be reported.
But I guess the GHSA wants to make sure only positive elements of high school sports are reported.
Rule 2.82 (e) is a direct contradiction to the first amendment of the United States Constitution.
For those who aren't familiar with it the first amendment states ?Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.'
Does the GHSA want to make sure that broadcasters and print journalists only focus on the positive aspects of high school athletics?
The GHSA may want only positive stuff reported but the GHSA (or any other government entity) doesn't have the authority to tell television stations, radio stations, newspapers, magazines, Internet sites or other media what to broadcast or publish. It's ridiculous that the GHSA would even think of such a rule.
The GHSA rule 2.82 (e) is blatantly un-American and is more akin to what you would have seen in communist Russia or in Germany under the rule of Adolph Hitler.
Do we want to become a society where the government has the right to censor the broadcast and print media?
I guess some people would be more than happy to give up their first amendment rights but I am not one of them.
Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for The Daily. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily or firstname.lastname@example.org.