ESPN’s newest “30 for 30: What Carter Lost” is an interesting film that takes a deep dive into high school football in the state of Texas in the 80’s just look at how successful “Friday Night Lights” by H. G. Bissinger became by being turned into a hit movie and a cult favorite TV show. The film maneuvers through racism and expertly handles the events that happen to present them in such a way that it becomes a cautionary tale for adults/student athletes. The main take away from the film is that adults can’t allow student athletes to feel as if they are invincible or Gods by giving them things just because they are good in sports because when you do, some kids can think they can get away with anything.
What I loved most about this documentary as a whole is that Hollywood couldn’t have written a better story line. It’s has racial undertones, an ongoing saga, and an ending that nobody involved would have ever seen coming. So really if Hollywood is looking for a new movie surrounding high school the events of the 1988 Carter football team is a great option that requires little finesse of details.
It’s common knowledge that in places where football is important, if an athlete/team is good enough that they can get anything they want. They can go to any restaurant in their surrounding area and get food for free, they can get any clothing they want for free, and basically are treated like royalty. But in the case of Carter football, they had the added benefit of winning a lawsuit that alleged one athlete was ineligible. So given that they initially won a legal battle that allowed them to play is it really that surprising that some of the athletes thought they could get away with robbing people?
While I’d love nothing more than to go on a lengthy rant about how this whole mess falls solely on the shoulders of the athletes (which 90% of the blame does), I just can’t blame them solely. Some of the blame falls on the shoulders of the adults around them that perpetuated this idea that they were above the law or above having to work for anything. Sure, they worked hard on the field and were successful on the field, but life isn’t just about winning on the field. These kids should’ve had to actually pay for stuff like food and clothes because it’s been seen throughout the years that athletes that feel entitled to things are more likely to do stupid things (Look at Johnny ‘Money’ Manziel and the autographs for money or Jameis Winston and the stolen crab).
But still the majority of the blame falls on the shoulders of the guys; they even remark in the film that it wasn’t the fault of anyone else. They made the choice to commit the crime and they paid the price. But they also said in the film that they thought when they got arrested that they were going to get off because of who they were. Derric Evans recalls being pulled over for speeding in his red camaro at least once a week and never got a ticket. So again the adults surrounding them let them continue to get away with things and get things for free that fed into their egos and feelings of invincibility.
Out of all the 30 for 30 films I’ve seen, this is one of my favorites. I think that this film is important for not only athletes to watch, but adults surrounding athletes to know just how powerful the consequences can be following choices. It doesn’t matter how well someone plays on the field, no one is above the law.