Pink football cleats a "distraction" at Mendenhall High School - - Jackson, MS

Pink football cleats a "distraction" at Mendenhall High School

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By Stephanie Bell Flynt - bio | email

MENDENHALL, MS (WLBT) - It's not uncommon to see a littering of pink on football fields in October. Many high school players emulate NFL players, by wearing something pink in support of breast cancer awareness month. But pink has sidelined the kicker at Mendenhall High School.

Coy Sheppard kicked plenty of PATs in a 43 to 13 victory over Richland last Friday night, all in pink cleats. And some teammates wore pink sweat bands or pink tape, at least until half time.

"He made it last pretty much the whole half time talk about the pink cleats, not just the pink cleats but pink period" said Coy Sheppard. "He never asked anybody to take the pink off. Everybody just took it off any way because he was making such a big deal about it."

Head coach Chris Peterson didn't forget about the issue either. When Sheppard came to practice in his pink cleats, an assistant coach told him to take them off.

"I told him I would take them off after practice, meaning I was going to practice in them" said Sheppard.

It was shortly after that, Coy was told to hand over his helmet and go home.

We were unable to reach either the Mendenhall principal or the football coach for comment.

We did, however, get in touch with Simpson County Schools Deputy Superintendent Tom Duncan, who says it was never an issue of breast cancer awareness. Duncan told us by phone it was an issue between a player and a coach.

"This young man was defiant and I don't know many coaches in the state that wouldn't do the same thing. And his dad understands completely" said Duncan. 

"I do understand and we don't condone being disrespectful to the coaches" said Joey Sheppard, Coy's father. "But he was standing up for what he thought was right.

Joey Sheppard also disagrees with the school system statement that his son was kicked off the team for his behavior.

"He's had five or six different colored shoes throughout his last two years of kicking for Mendenhall and when he got the pink shoes that's when it became an issue" said Joey Sheppard. "I think it is the pink shoes."

Either way, the younger Sheppard is done with his senior year of football, unless somebody has a change of heart.

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