Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Discrimination hurts

And the hurt is going to be felt most acutely by the Michigan High School Athletic Association which was recently ordered to pay the legal fees associated with its decade plus-long battle against a group of parents who, among other things, asked that girls' sports be played in their correct seasons. A federal judge has ordered the association to pay $7.4 million in attorney fees, most of which will go to lawyer Kristen Galles who represented what became Communities for Equity.
I do not want to belittle the concerns that the judgment will potentially bankrupt the organization (depending on what kind of payment agreement Galles and MHSAA reach) which will ultimately hurt student-athletes. But readers should not forget that MHSAA had the chance to work out a settlement that would have exempted them from attorney fees. It chose to continue the 12-year battle (which cost them over $10 million) saying that it had enough money to keep fighting. They have caused a significant amount of hurt themselves in perpetuating discrimination.
It will be interesting to see one, what comes of this particular situation, and two whether this judgment has an effect on the thoughts and actions of groups that keep fighting losing battles (a court ruled against MHSAA as early as 2001) to maintain their discriminatory practices.