Innocent fun or cruel mocking: Two families try to protect their sons

David Dixon, via Indy Star

Innocent fun or cruel mocking: Two families try to protect their sons

Boys Basketball

Innocent fun or cruel mocking: Two families try to protect their sons

What started as a night of high school basketball between two top Indianapolis teams has become a polarizing national story. At the center are two families trying to protect their sons.

On Tuesday morning, Tamieka Franklin fielded phone calls from the Washington Post and Yahoo.

Ed Lyons kept his son home from school for a second day after threats were made on social media.

The intent of what happened at that basketball game Friday night is a matter of whom you believe.

To the Franklin family, a Center Grove student ridiculed their son, who has battled epileptic seizures and once suffered a seizure during a basketball game.

To Ed Lyons, his son innocently engaged in the time-honored tradition of trying to make a player miss a free throw.

What you can see for yourself is this: When Cathedral’s James Franklin Jr. headed to the free-throw line and took the ball, Lyons dropped to the floor on his stomach in front of the student section and began to flail. According to Lyons’ father, this was a “fish out of water” routine planned regardless of who was shooting free throws, a page taken out of Arizona State’s “curtain of distraction.”

Ryan Williamson, a former dean at Center Grove as well as a teacher and coach, wrote to IndyStar on Tuesday that the school began its “curtain of distraction” two years ago. He wrote that, as dean, “I had to approve the bits and the fish out of water was a regular routine.”

Ed Lyons said his son Fred wasn’t aware of Franklin Jr.’s seizures: “He had no idea.”

The Franklins aren’t buying that, in large part because of what Franklin Jr. said he heard later in the game from the Center Grove student section. Franklin Jr. said he heard a voice calling out, “Have another seizure, have another seizure.”

“James turned around and said, ‘Hey chill out with that,’” Tamieka Franklin said.

Therein lies the frustration for the Franklin family.

Read the rest of the story in the Indianapolis Star

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