Update>> The game is back on, to be played at The Star in Frisco. The date has been moved from Friday, Sept. 6 to Thursday, Sept. 5.
Dallas Morning News reporter Corbett Smith sums up the situation here.
Back on the morning of August 3rd, a man with a rifle and a twisted agenda walked into a Walmart and opened fire, killing 22 people while injuring 24 others in the deadliest mass shooting of 2019. The gunman was arrested shortly after the shooting and has been charged with capital murder while the FBI is investigating the shooting further and calling it an act of domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime.
While the people of El Paso look for answers and try to come together and heal, the tragedy and its ripples have captured the attention of not only every day Americans, but also lawmakers, politicians, and people in both parties hoping to make a run at the presidency.
Those ripples have reached into the landscape of high school football as well now.
Plano Senior HS (TX) has decided to cancel their week 2 match up with El Paso Eastwood HS. Why? Well, apparently the shooter in the El Paso Walmart, located just 3 miles from El Paso Eastwood HS, was a former student of Plano Senior HS.
Here's the reasoning Plano ISD shared regarding their decision to cancel the game.
"After consulting with local law enforcement agencies, Plano ISD administrators felt obligated to prioritize the safety of the participating players, students, families and communities, and have concluded that the timing of the game falls too soon after the tragedy in El Paso."
So, from the sounds of it, there had to have been some threats...right? Nope. David Tilley, a Plano Police Department public information officer shared that there had been no threats.
"We grieve with our neighbors in El Paso and are heartbroken that what is happening in society today is affecting our kids and our communities. Our students and coaches were eager for this opportunity to come together with Eastwood High to promote a message of compassion and healing, but what should be a celebratory event would be encumbered by safety concerns for the participants and fans of both teams. Our top priority must be the safety of all."
Multiple reports state that coaches and administration at El Paso Eastwood offered options to keep the game (scheduled to be in Plano) on, including hosting the game in El Paso or at a neutral site. Plano declined both of those options. With the game a few weeks out, many boosters and supporters from Plano had been banding together to do things like raise funds to share with those affected in El Paso as an act of good will at the game. While those efforts will continue, they no longer have the chance to connect personally under the Friday night lights when the two teams face off.
“We don’t agree with the way this is being handled in Plano. This is an opportunity for our districts to heal and be who we really are,” YISD trustee Kathrn Lucero shared with the El Paso Times.
“It’s not fair to the kids, who just want to play football. It’s really unfortunate that the Plano district is unable to stand up to the fear,” she added.
Now, Eastwood is looking to fill a game on their schedule two weeks away, and will likely have to travel to a neighboring state to do so.
It's also worth noting that this year would have been the second straight year that Plano would have hosted El Paso Eastwood. Last year, Plano beat Eastwood 72-48.
The logic from Plano directed at a community healing from a national tragedy has struck a cord with many folks on social media. See some of those responses below.