Life has not been easy for James Franklin Jr.
In August of 2017, the Cathedral (Indianapolis) High School senior underwent brain surgery to alleviate the epileptic seizures he had battled since birth.
“James is a warrior,” Cathedral basketball coach Jason Delaney said. “No one sets a better example or fights harder than James Franklin.”
Franklin has battled his way back to the basketball court for the Irish, making his second start of the season on Friday night in Cathedral’s 63-60 loss to Center Grove. The surgery, while successful, took part of Franklin’s brain. He battles depression.
“He has to overcome a lot of insecurities in his life,” Franklin’s mother, Tamieka Franklin said. “It has had a huge impact on him.”
Franklin’s story should be a positive, an example of a young man overcoming adversity. But it took an unfortunate turn Friday night. In the first half of the game, while Franklin was at the free-throw line to shoot free throws, a Center Grove student flopped on the floor in front of the student section, seemingly a mocking gesture toward Franklin.
Later, Franklin took the ball out of bounds in front of the student section.
“He heard, ‘Have another seizure, have another seizure,’” his mother, Tamieka Franklin, said. “That shows me they did their homework and it was not a coincidence.”
The same Center Grove student who flopped on the floor had a cutout of Cathedral senior Armaan Franklin’s mother’s face on his chest when the senior guard attempted two free throws.
A message to Center Grove athletic director Jon Zwitt was not returned as of Saturday afternoon.
Tamieka Franklin agrees with Delaney. She said the Center Grove student apologized to her son after the game on Friday night.
Center Grove’s executive director of communications released the following statement Saturday afternoon:
“Members of the administrative team and athletic department at CGHS are aware of the concerns raised about student behavior at the Cathedral basketball game Friday night. We are working collaboratively with the administrative staff and athletic department at Cathedral to address these issues. Our goal is to always create an environment where sportsmanship and quality competition can thrive. We do not condone any behavior intended to mock, disparage or humiliate any player or student.”