Charles Henderson High senior and Rutgers recruit Maori Davenport was left off the 2019 McDonald's All American Games roster on Thursday following a controversial suspension by the Alabama High School Athletic Association. Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer shared an open letter to Davenport with espnW.
As adults, coaches and administrators, we have the duty of teaching young people how to be their very best, work toward greatness and make the very best decisions in life.
Maori Davenport, you are all of that. You are all we want to see out of our young people -- making the most of your talents, striving for excellence, working hard toward your goals and being the best you can be, not only in sport, but in life.
But we, as adults, failed to fully recognize your achievements. We failed to overcome archaic rules that many of us have come to realize punish athletes for achieving greatness. Worse, we made an example of how doing the right thing -- recognizing mistakes and correcting them -- can leave you in a worse situation than before.
Isn't this all the complete opposite of what we try to teach our young people -- to strive to be the best you can be and to do good in all areas of life?
Maori, I am here to tell you -- as someone who can vouch for your talents and character -- that this type of adversity can make or break you, but that you have the strength and courage of conviction to rise above it all.
You have demonstrated grace under pressure and how to carry dignity in front of the world, a heavy burden that you have carried better than most.
Your parents, grandparents and family have instilled core values that have allowed you to flourish both in good and trying times. They have raised a respectful young woman that the country has come to know as recognizing right from wrong and for believing in what is just.
Do not be discouraged by those voices who try to keep you from showcasing your talents -- not only as a basketball player but also as a young woman. You need to continue to be the best person you can be, aspiring to be great in all facets of life and a shining example of how to rise above adversity.
There are so many of us who believe in you, Maori -- not for the awards and honors but for the person you are and continue to be no matter what obstacles are placed in your way.
Coach C. Vivian Stringer