I was a defensive back on my college football team, but I refuse to be put on the defensive about the game of football.
The game is good for students, their schools and our communities. High school football is character-building for students, spirit-building for schools and community-building for cities and towns. Local school football programs ought to be part of the development plans and place-making strategies of all communities of Michigan.
The school-sponsored game has never been safer to play. The equipment has never been more protective, coaches have never had more safety training, the rules have never been more safety-oriented, and game officials have never had more encouragement to enforce those rules. The result is fewer injuries of all kinds – from nicks and bruises to ankles, knees and necks.
When the game of football has faults, we find and fix them. To continue doing so requires that we be honest with ourselves about where the game has weaknesses and be constantly alert to effective ways to improve the game.
Defensiveness gets in the way of discovering ways to go on offense. It blocks innovation and sacks aspirations before they can be launched.
I want our public to know that school-sponsored football is a great game. I also want the public to know that we aspire to keep improving the game and to exceed legal mandates. We will continue to do more than what is required and, in fact, we intend to do what’s unexpected to assure football remains a positive influence on students, schools and communities.