Player with pink cleats not allowed to play, again

MENDENHALL, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi high school football player wasn’t allowed to suit up in Friday night’s game, apparently due to a continuing dispute over his decision to wear pink cleats in a previous game.

Mendenhall High School player Coy Sheppard had sued the school after he was kicked off the team after wearing pink cleats, a gift from his grandmother meant to honor cancer survivors.

The school and Sheppard’s attorney reached a deal in which he was supposed to rejoin the team in Friday’s game. Sheppard’s attorney, Oliver Diaz, told The Clarion-Ledger he’s considering an amended lawsuit seeking additional damages after the player wasn’t allowed to suit up.

Diaz says Sheppard was devastated. The game against Purvis in the second round of the state high school playoffs would have been the first game in a month in which Sheppard was able to take the field.

The school district’s attorney, Daniel C. Jones, would not comment.

Diaz said he considers the action a “bad faith breach of the settlement agreement.”

“So not only is this coach making bad decisions, he is also costing the taxpayers of Simpson County a good amount in legal damages,” Diaz said.

Sheppard wore his pink cleats in an Oct. 8 game. He kicked extra points and his team won.

School officials have said the problem wasn’t the color of Sheppard’s shoes. They said he was booted off the team for ignoring the orders of his coach and assistant coaches to take off the shoes.

Sheppard filed suit in Simpson County Chancery Court. The lawsuit asked the court to reinstate Sheppard to the football team and clear his disciplinary record. The suit also asked for any monetary damages to be awarded to the American Cancer Society.

In a joint statement released after a meeting Thursday, the two parties said there had been a misunderstanding over Sheppard’s dismissal.

The Associated Press