Bama Benching Over Color Underlines MLK Impact

Monday one of the best hoops prospects in the country was benched for an MLK-day Alabama high school basketball game because of color.

Levi Randolph Benched Because Of His Shoe Color

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Though the controversy involving Crimson Tide signee Levi Randolph is somewhat of a headshaker, I’m happy to report that his lack of playing time had nothing to do with the color of his skin. (Another subtle reminder of MLK’s profound impact.)

Randolph, a senior at Bob Jones High School in Huntsviile, sat on the bench for his team’s entire game last night because, according to coach Danny Petty,  his shoes were an inappropriate color.

Greg Ostendorf of the TUSCALOOSA NEWS has the story.

The game became known for Levi Randolph, his shoes and his absence from the court. Evidently, Randolph wore his blue shoes when head coach Danny Petty had told him the team was wearing their red team shoes.

“He said before that we’ve got to wear team shoes, but lately, we haven’t been wearing them,” Randolph said. “People have been twisting their ankles and stuff, so everybody just went and bought their own shoes.”

Here was Petty’s take on it after the game: ”He can wear reds or whites. Flourescent blue? Give me a break. Hopefully, he will learn.”

More from Coach Petty to Bill Bryant of the HUNTSVILLE TIMES:

“If you let one player wear any kind of shoe he wants to wear, then somebody’s going to wear fluorescent green, somebody’s going to wear orange,” Petty said. “We’re going to come out there and we’re going to look like a bunch of clowns.

“It’s nothing that he didn’t already know. It’s not the first issue with the shoes. I don’t know what he’s attempting to do. Maybe he’s testing me.”

Randolph also defended his choice of footwear to Bryant:

“The last game, I wore purple shoes. I guess these were too loud. It’s disappointing because I know I could have helped my team. I really didn’t understand because Justin Pride had the same color shoes as me.”

Minor detail: Pride played for the opposing team last night.

There’s quite obviously more to this story, but it appears from afar that Petty hasn’t done enough to define exactly what the rules are for the team regarding shoe color. (Hence Randolph earlier wearing purple shoes in a game.)

Petty’s lack of control was most telling when he said to reporter Bryant, “I don’t know what he’s (Randolph) attempting to do. Maybe he’s testing me.

Rebellion coming from a highly-touted high school basketball recruit is to be expected. It’s up to Petty to set down clear parameters of what is appropriate footwear (and behavior) and what isn’t before the season.

The coach is the adult here and he did as much to embarrass himself in his benching of Randolph - and flimsy defense of the move - as Randolph did with his choice of shoes.

A controversy involving color in Alabama that has nothing to do with race?

Thank you MLK.

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