Louisiana Attorney General: “It is time to turn on the Friday night lights”

The attorney general wrote a letter the LHSAA.

High school football debate

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry wrote a letter to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA), asking it to reconsider starting the high school football season.

Landry said he thinks it is safe for the players to start playing games. However, the LHSAA has previously said they will follow the state’s lead, only considering to start the season once it has reached phase three of reopening.

“Times have changed, as has our understanding of this virus,” Landry wrote. “It is time for our decision-making process to change as well.”

Players can still practice, as long as they don’t make direct contact, according to the LHSAA.

KSLA News 12 talked to Landry via Skype on Tuesday. He said the governor is “pushing the goal line further and further back.”

“The governor has never said what the exact metric was that’s going to bring him in phase three,” Landry said. “Every two weeks, we would wait around, like a bunch of servants, waiting for the governor to come out on his press conference.”

Coaches, on the other hand, are tired of just practicing, especially since they can only hold no-contact practice.

“The guys have been doing it all summer; the coaches have been doing it all summer,” North Caddo High School head football coach John Kavanaugh said. “I just feel like it’s something we can do safely. If it is, it’s time to get things rolling.”

He said players get temperature checks before workouts and practices. Plus, people on the sidelines are required to wear face masks and social distance along the side of the field.

“Usually the players are crammed in between the 30-yard lines, right?” Kavanaugh said. “Well, they’ve expanded that all the way to the goal line. You can spread out, you can social distance your entire football team on the sideline.”

In his letter, Landry said the high school players do not face the same risks as collegiate players.

“The risks inherent in playing football are constant at all levels of competition, including high school,” he wrote. “Yet, statistics from the CDC show that the younger people are, the less likely this coronavirus will negatively affect them - should they become infected at all.”

Landry said the data on COVID-19 continues to change everyday.

“What we know about it today, which is different than what we knew about it in March and April, I can’t believe we can’t find a way to get our student-athletes to play football,” he said.

Both Kavanaugh and Landry emphasized that football is an inherently dangerous sport.

“You can never guarantee someone’s safety when they’re playing football,” Kavanaugh said.

“As you well know, football can be a hazardous sport with injuries,” Landry wrote. “Those who choose to play it know of these dangers and accept those threats - many because they find the values of the sport far outweigh the risks involved.”

Kavanaugh hopes the season can start by October.

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