The other side of the Garfield High School controversy

Apr 27, 2017, 5:49 AM | Updated: 1:02 pm
high school counselor , garfield high school, recruitment, National anthem demonstrations...
Garfield High School (Seattle Public Schools)
(Seattle Public Schools)

After The Seattle Times reported that Garfield High School was under investigation for possible football recruiting violations, those close to the program want people to know that there’s another side to the story.

“For me personally, it’s very frustrating, angering,” said assistant coach Thomas Bogan. “I’m hurt. I had an opportunity to coach the young man and some of the things in the article are untrue.”

RELATED: Garfield High School suspected of breaking recruitment rules

The Time’s reported that 19-year-old Will Sanders came to Seattle from Texas and played football at Garfield High School. Sanders told The Times that Coach Joey Thomas hyped the football team to him before he made the move. But when the season was over, he returned home for Thanksgiving. He was not brought back to Seattle, however, Sanders told The Times:

‘They told us they would pay for us to come back up after Thanksgiving,’ Sanders said in an interview, referring to himself and another youth who had been flown up from the city of Beaumont, in southeast Texas. ‘But when I called, Coach Thomas starts giving us the runaround, and that was it. They just left us.’

The other side of the story largely comes from John McKinney, a Seattle resident who originally hails from Beaumont, Texas. He came to the Emerald City homeless and with drug problems. But he credits the “great people of Seattle” for helping him get his life straight. In turn, he now tries to help others, especially from his hometown.
That’s what John did with his son, Cameron.

From Beaumont to Garfield High School

“Cameron’s brother, Chad, was murdered in Beaumont, Texas,” McKinney told the Ron and Don Show. “Cameron was having a difficult time. I brought him up here for a visit. He liked Seattle. I could see he didn’t want to go back home. He went back home and he did some things.”

McKinney worked it out so Cameron could return to Seattle.

“Garfield showed him so much love and encouragement he just jumped on it and never looked back,” McKinney said. “I had a whole community in Beaumont, Texas watching Cameron’s success … and we have a lot of talented kids that don’t get an opportunity.”

Cameron kept his grades up and played right into a college scholarship at the University of North Dakota where he is today. Some time later, McKinney came across another youth from Beaumont, Will Sanders.

“Will was introduced to me by a friend of mine,” McKinney said. “Will was having a few issues in Beaumont and they had been watching Cameron’s story. They had seen how Cameron had got his life straight … I flew (Will) here, as a matter of fact.”

According to McKinney, Garfield’s football coach did not recruit the kids from Texas.

“I’m the Beaumont person,” McKinney said. ‘That was just the situation because of Cameron’s success and that was my community, and wanting to help a kid get his life straight.”

“He came up here to get the grades up,” he said. “He couldn’t play sports without the grades. I said, ‘Hey man, you got to take care of business in the classroom.’ Evidently, he wasn’t doing what he needed to do; he had not been handling his business. He did not have to leave (back to Texas). But he insisted on leaving.”

Will flew back to Texas around the Thanksgiving holiday, according to McKinney.

“I told him he didn’t have to leave,” McKinney said. “He chose to leave. Whatever reason, he wanted to go home. I didn’t even get into that. I took him to the airport, I gave him $400. I told him to call once he got home. He never called. I never saw him or talked to him again.”

McKinney said he didn’t know that Will had later returned to Seattle until he randomly got a truancy report in the mail.

“That tripped me out,” McKinney said. “I didn’t even know he was here.”

McKinney’s side of the story strays from the narrative in The Seattle Times. Both Coach Bogan and McKinney were tight-lipped about other details around the young man’s situation and what happened at Garfield High School. They just want to get the word out that there is more to the story, and that what happened in the cases of Cameron and Will are far from recruiting for a football team.

“I do know that from my own situation with Will, there was an opportunity presented to me to help Will with the deadline that he had,” Coach Bogan said. “I reached out to Will and he seemed enthusiastic about getting the help. I told him, ‘Hey, I’m not going to do the work for you. In fact, I’m not going to be the one to push this. I’m looking for you to come to me, but I’m letting you know that I am here and willing to help you.’”

“A couple practices went along and I said, ‘Hey Will, I haven’t heard from you in regards to this assignment,’” he said. “He said he would let me know, and over the course of time he never followed through.”

Ron and Don

KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Ron and Don’s last show on KIRO Radio

Last night was Ron and Don’s last show on KIRO Radio.
4 years ago
Kelly Herzberg in her natural habitat. (Photo by Rachel Belle)...
Rachel Belle

In Seattle, a personal shopper and stylist who only shops at thrift stores

If you think you can't afford a personal stylist, head to the thrift store with Sweet Kelly Anne Styling's Kelly Herzberg who will pull hundreds of pieces for you to try on.
4 years ago
Viaduct waterfront...
Ron Upshaw

What do we do with the waterfront after the viaduct is gone?

After the viaduct is taken down, we'll be left with a choice: What do we do with one of the most beautiful waterfronts in the country?
4 years ago
Ron Upshaw

Shower Thoughts: Ichiro can give Mariners fans something to root for

Rumor has it that Ichiro might make a comeback next year, and I for one welcome it.
4 years ago
Border wall...
Ron Upshaw

Trying to figure out why people want Trump’s border wall

A little over 40 percent of Americans now support the idea of a border wall, but what is it about it that seems so attractive?
4 years ago
Dan McCartney, Pierce County Sheriff...
Don O'Neill

Why you could hear kids’ voices on Pierce County Sheriff radios Monday night

Sometimes, "gone but not forgotten" isn't always how slain officers are remembered. But in Pierce County, a special effort is being made to commemorate a fallen deputy.
4 years ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
The other side of the Garfield High School controversy