I never liked the term “collateral damage.”
It got tossed out during the first Persian Gulf War in 1990 when U.S. airstrikes hit something they were not meaning to destroy.
It could have been a non-targeted building or civilians, a catch-all term for “Oops, didn’t mean to blow that up.”
It should have been tossed back.
Until I can think of another term for the fallout one coach is going to face, I guess it will have to do.
By now, if you are in south Louisiana, or follow high school football like us good bayou boys do, you have heard about what happened to Catholic High in Baton Rouge.
The Bears have to forfeit two state football titles and return those trophies and two state runnerup trophies to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA).
The reason – well, they broke some rules – but it is not clear what rules they broke.
The LHSAA is not saying, and Catholic High is not saying.
That allows social media – not in love with that term either – to step in and do what it does best: Spread rumors, offer theories not founded in reality, voice opinions as fact when no, they are not.
What Catholic High on the other side of the river did or did not do won’t keep me awake at night. I will spend my worry time on if my new grandson is sleeping the whole night or outgrowing another onesie.
And that brings us to the coach I mentioned.
We know him in Pointe Coupee Parish. David Simoneaux, the former football coach at Catholic High of Pointe Coupee.
He built a winning program for the Hornets, got them to a state title game and earned the respect of the school’s fans and the parish. He moved on to bigger things, taking over the reins at – you know it’s coming – Catholic High of Baton Rouge.
Simoneaux had nothing to do with whatever happened at that school that brought the LHSAA in.
He wasn’t there; he was here on this side of the river, teaching young men about teamwork and dedication, and how to win a few football games.
But if the collateral damage falls on anyone, it will be him.
His cellphone probably started buzzing the day the story broke, as we say in the newspaper business.
Reporters, TV stations and podcast purveyors, all looking for a comment or to have him explain it to them, because some of them missed the part about learning journalism instead option to “tweet it out,” “post something online.”
Unfortunately, it also probably won’t get much better for Simoneaux.
TV cameras will be on him when fall practice begins. “Social media” will have their cellphones on video when his first game with the Bears is played.
And no matter the outcome, those cameras will be aimed at him wanting to know how did the forfeits affect his team, did the forfeits affect his team, will the forfeits affect his team in the future?
Again, let’s put it out there. Simoneaux was not at that Catholic High when anything, whatever it was, happened.
But he has to pick up the pieces. Everyone will be watching him and the 2021 version of his Bears football team.
Having covered Simoneaux during his tenure at Catholic-PC, I think he will handle it with the same grace and dignity he showed in New Roads.
It is just unfortunate that he will have to deal with this collateral damage.
Simoneaux still has more than a few fans in Pointe Coupee Parish. I’m sure they will be rooting for him to continue inspiring, educating and motivating young men.
That won’t make the news. And that is the real damage.