August 8, 2017
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The Daily Gazette
Posted August 8, 2017
Time for review on how our high schools treat superstars after ex Grand Blanc High star charged in murder police call 'revenge' killing
GRAND BLANC — Nobody in Grand Blanc High School's football family wanted to talk on the record about Monday's news that one of its all-time greats is being held without bail at the Genesee County Jail.
It's a subject that needs to be addressed on the day that high school football practices began across Michigan.
How many schools employ coaches who allow talent to trump instilling life's most important lessons that come from the privilege of participating in competitive sports?
L.J. Liston Jr., went to three colleges that didn't want him after graduating from Grand Blanc High School in 2011. He was rejected by the University of Cincinnati because of academic problems immediately after graduating at Grand Blanc, then went to a prep school for a year to win a scholarship at Rutgers University. He played two years of Big Ten Conference ball before Rutgers dismissed Liston from its program. He transferred to Northern Michigan University and was dismissed from the program there midway through his first season.
He isn't the first big star around these parts to encounter troubles in life after his high school celebrated his talent. Are too many big stars missing out on the discipline and sheer character developed by so many others forced to go by the rules that often don't apply to superstars?
Many long-time coaches contacted Monday didn't want to go on the record about the subject.
"It's a problem at some schools, no doubt," said one former long-time coach who asked not to be identified.
"A coach who sits a big star can lose a game and that's a risk some coaches just don't want to take, and the superstar types know they can get away with stuff," said another coach who also didn't want his name used. "The problem is that they take that attitude into life after football or basketball or hockey or baseball. Too many get out of high school simply thinking they can do whatever they want because they've never had consequences for their actions. It's a problem and any coach or A.D. is a liar if they say it isn't a problem in today's high school setting."
Another current coach said who also asked that he not be identified went a step further, saying, "It's on the coaches. I may discipline kids a lot and lose a lot of games because of it, but I'm proud to know I don't have any kids in jail. Too many don't care about kids after they leave their program. My coaches cared about me after I played ball. They let me know they were watching me and what they expected. I feel like they're still watching, and some of them are in their graves now. They didn't let me get away with anything then, or after I played for them. Too many coaches today don't care about the kids how they should care. Today's coach just isn't the way a coach was in my day."
Several suggested that maybe it's a topic to discuss on Tuesday's Daily Gazette Sports Night Show. Callers will be invited to weigh in with opinions about the subject from 6 pm to 7 pm. You can listen live by clicking on the blue button in the middle of the page on your laptop or PC, or by scrolling down on your smart phone, tablet or mobile device.
Mike Killbreath hosts The Morning Gazette Radio Show weekdays from 8 am until 9 am on CCNRadio.net and he hosts The Daily Gazette Sports Weekend Show every Saturday from 10 am until 1 pm, and The Daily Gazette Sports Night Show weekdays from 6 pm until 7 pm.