Even though Areeon Filot insists she was only trying to break up the fight when she ran on to the court, Arvada High School in Colorado decided the freshman point guard's actions warranted a suspension.
As Filot approached the players who were fighting in the game between Arvada and Alameda, her male basketball coach literally took matters into his own hands. Roger Griffin grabbed Filot's hair, ripped her away from the skirmish and threw her to the floor.
In fact, Griffin was so incensed with Filot for leaving the bench that he pushed for her removal from the team -- this in addition to a five-day suspension. The school district granted his request.
Meanwhile Griffin, who is also a teacher at Arvada, will not be punished for flinging Filot to the ground, either by the school or the local district attorney, who declined to file charges.
The outcry against the coach's actions -- and the school's decision not to punish him -- is punctuated by video footage that captures the entire fracas, including Griffin violently throwing Filot:
"They didn't even give me the benefit of the doubt when I didn't do anything," Filot told ABC 7 News in Denver. "It's just like it shows you don’t have any hope or faith in your students to change."
Filot's mother demanded that the coach apologize for his actions against her daughter, but he refused. With no criminal charges forthcoming, Filot has very few options for seeking justice and changing the punishments she has received.
Filot can request to be brought back to the team next season, but the bitter relationship with her coach -- now made worse after she pursued legal action against him -- doesn't make that a likely option.
Perhaps a civil action is an option.