Aram to Monrovia Admin: Let De’Shawn Ramirez play

Here’s my column from Saturday morning, in case you missed it.

Within the next week or so, Monrovia High School principal Darvin Jackson and his administration are expected to decide whether football standout De’Shawn Ramirez will be allowed to return to their school and play football this fall.

Ramirez is currently attending Canyon Continuation High School in Monrovia, which is where he was sent without playing a down last season for an unspecified incident while he was a student at Monrovia.

As is always the case when a minor is involved, privacy laws don’t allow schools to comment on the specifics of what a student did wrong. Obviously, it was serious enough to land Ramirez far away from the football field, where his former team won the CIF Mid-Valley Division championship last year without him.

Now, as Ramirez’s senior year looms, he’s seeking to return to Monrovia where, once on the field, the consensus is that he will be one of the top running backs in the Valley.

I urge Jackson and the Monrovia administration to let him return.

I say that with some caveats. I do not have Ramirez’s case file in front of me, but if his grades check out and he’s made progress in the areas where it’s requested, then Jackson needs to reach the same decision I have:

Ramirez must return.

Does making such a decision open up Jackson and his administration for extreme scrutiny and criticism if they allow Ramirez to return and he slips up? Yes. Does it matter? No.

And that’s because football could be the thing that turns Ramirez’s life around. It could be the thing that sends him on a path to a productive life.

And by denying Ramirez another chance to play, the administration would be doing more harm than good.

True, the sports world is littered with tons of athletes who got second, third, fourth and fifth chances but never turned things around. Even our own Valley has experienced the travails of players who got second and third chances only to squander them.

But those situations are on them, the athletes, not any coach or principal who cleared the way for something positive like football to hopefully have a productive influence on their lives.

If 99 situations where a kid was given a second chance fail, but one has a good outcome, then it’s been all worth it. The job of teachers, coaches and administrators is to point our young people in the right direction. Whether they choose to go that way is up to the student-athlete.

Allowing Ramirez to play football gives him an opportunity to use his exceptional talent to hopefully clear a better future for himself.

Indeed, football is a privilege and not a right. Ramirez had his chance and dazzled as Monrovia’s starting running back when he was a sophomore. Then, he messed it up. It’s now time for him to get the second chance that he is certainly not owed, but hopefully has done enough to earn.

Most of you think you already know how Ramirez’s story will end up. And the odds say you’re probably going to be right. But I urge you to think about the “what if” factor before writing Ramirez off.

What if this young man uses his talent and allows the positive influence of being around Monrovia’s coaches to right his personal ship?

What if the light suddenly goes on after hearing the same message from a coach or teacher after the 100th try?

Where else other than a football field is Ramirez better off?

Nobody in society should give up on kids. Not our school administrators, teachers or coaches, and certainly not our parents and communities. Football could be Ramirez’s ticket, but we’ll never know if he doesn’t get back on the field.

Wouldn’t you rather know instead of wondering what might have been?

It’s time to let Ramirez play and root for the best.

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  • bmteducator

    Aram the problem I have with your rational is that we do not know if enabling him to play actually hinders him. Maybe by not being allowed to play he and those around the program learn vital lessons. He is going to be a star this season and I wonder what type of support system will be in place to keep him (or anyone else) grounded and from falling in with those who would exploit him.

  • observantcat

    I truly believe that DeShawn will play and become an intrical part of Monrovia’s football program this season both on Offense and on special teams play. From my own sources DeShawn has passed the grades part of his stipulations and the ball will be placed in his court this season to stay on top of his game on and off the field. A lot of people are probably wondering why so much hype on this kid. If you know football and know a truly gifted natural athlete then you’ll know why. My hopes are that the coaching staff stay on him and do what coaches are supposed to do and that is to mentor him into the person (not the football player) he could turn out to be. As far as his athetiscm, his best asset is his first step. Outside of Crenshaws Black Mamba (DeAnthony Thomas) I haven’t seen many running backs with his first step quickness in a very long time. What makes him special is that its so very natural, you miss him on your first opportunity you wont get another one. WE ARE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU DeSHAWN TO BE THE GUY THAT WE KNOW YOU CAN BE. ONLY YOU WILL BE ABLE TO MAKE YOUR WRONGS RIGHT. I BELIVE YOU WILL.

  • Anonymous

    bmteducator: This kid has payed his dues, by missing his junior season of his high school football career, having to attend an alternative school and not getting to enjoy the accolades of winning a championship season with some of his good friends and teammates. The public has not been privelleged to know what really caused him to get the discipline that he got. But what happend to him could have happened to anyone. Teenagers are always putting themselves in harms way just by hanging with the wrong crowd.

  • USC athlete

    I really hope that Ramirez can turn things around, and still shine.

    However Tolegian, your opinion article is villainizing the teachers and administrator. They are not giving up on a kid. Their only intention is to steer the kid in the right direction. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to learn the hard way and have privileges taken away so that one can truly realize their mistakes and learn.

    Also, you’re not giving the kid enough credit. Where else other than a football field is Ramirez better off? How about wherever he sets his mind to succeed in? Its that kind of mentality that will minimize his chances from being successful after high school. How about, lets see him apply those positive qualities of discipline and focus to other areas of school so that he can proudly graduate with an optimistic future.

    Tolegian, its a shame that youre only reinforcing that misdirected mentality that lets athletes act irresponsibly, and then are left to struggle in life after high school.

  • BigCat

    To the Monrovia HS administration: It’s your job to see that kids make it through school. If DeShawn has made his grades, it’s your time now.

    To DeShawn: You worked hard to get the grades. Don’t squander everything that you worked for!

  • Aaron

    I do not believe you should have done this. Using this platform to state the case for him that we know almost nothing about is bad. The situation is ridiculously complicated from what I understand. If he has accomplished all of the goals that the Monrovia administration has created for him academically and in character development then he should be allowed to return to contribute to the team. But I’m very sure Coach Maddox will make him earn every snap that he gets in practice and every snap he gets in a game. He has an uphill battle that is for sure.

  • Joe Amat

    I disagree a little bit with the statement when looking at the big picture, instead of this situation in a vacuum:

    “If 99 situations where a kid was given a second chance fail, but one has a good outcome, then it’s been all worth it.”

    Unless giving those 100 kids that chance creates another 100 kids that do something stupid. Sometimes the only way to discourage further negative behavior by the rest of the group is to take away that opportunity for those that come later.

    Mr Jackson was a former college athlete and a former coach at the high school and collegiate level, so I trust he will take all of those things in consideration and make a decision based on the greater good, while still taking the individual’s interests to heart.

  • Dragon

    Forget this article and forget that HS he needs to attend a HS that will care more about his education than what they can get out of him on the field…..that HS lies, cheats, and breaks rules to keep players on their field thats not what he needs!

  • Observantcat

    Well Mr. Dragon, you can take Monrovia High School off that list. Monrovia has been a no nonsense type of school as far back as I can remember. There are several great players that never had the opportunity to play football at MHS. How many yards do recall DeShawn getting last season?….thought so. Keep it real….Mtown fans do.

  • not bias

    i think monrovia is full of crap i know of a few players in the past that have made bad decisions and removed from school and allowed back in and was still able to play. Look the kid paid his debt now its time for monrovia to let a little air out of its pumped up chest and let the kid play he deserved it high school is an opportunity level he lost his and did what he had to do to get back in school so at the least monrovia should grant him back his opportunity and let the kid play. and this is coming from a former wildcat.

  • Alex_Trebek

    The fact is your all focusing on the football aspect, first things first is to get this young man back into school and focus on making sure he can graduate. NOT getting him straight to the football field. Secondly there are people posting he should be allowed to play because he has “paid his dues”…. But none of you know that for a fact because none of the info is public. Give the admin time to make their decision and no that Football should not be one of the top priorities. Get him back into MHS and get him back on the right track first.

  • X’s and O’s


    I understand your argument, but football will be at the top of the list? Why? Not because he will provide yards for M-town, but because football is the positive aspect of his life that will help keep him from going astray. Also, the game of football does teach valuable lifelong lessons that carry over into the real world. A GREAT history teacher has a FEW of his former students visit him in the future and tell him what an impact he had on them. An AVERAGE football coach has a MULTITUDE of his former players visit him and tell him what an impact he had on them.

  • Observantcat

    Monrovia has had several players dissapear from its rosters in the past few years because of not making the grade. DeShawn is no different. The Wildcats have a no nonsense policy when it comes to the grades situation otherwise we would have a good 65-70 players on the squads final roster.

  • Aaron

    Getting a 2.2 doesn’t take effort, ask the players on the team that have a 4.0+ and carry three AP classes what they’re doing to keep their grades up. The difference between the 2.2 and the 4.0 as far as work and effort is a leaps and bounds difference.

  • Aaron

    I understand some kids struggle in high school, that’s a given fact. However, it is not just the system of the school, children not being studious is a behavior that is formed over time. Some children figure it out quick when they step on campus and take care of business in the classroom. Some students are self starters, some are not.

    Monrovia is not the only team to ever lose a player over grades, but you do not get kicked out and sent to continuation school if there was not a series of bad behavior. That behavior can be both Academic and personality wise. You have to remember that the system does not extend beyond the fence line of the school, if the parents do not have a good structure set up at home it certainly makes it easier to fall from grace.

    There are so many division 1 athletes that are at risk, in my opinion if the student-athlete wouldn’t be considered for the school if he wasn’t being recruited then he shouldn’t be there. Just an opinion, but you’d see a ton of schools fall off the map.

  • Luke Russert
  • mtowner


    Lets get a clear perspective regarding GPA’s and the American Education system. A 4.0 means nothing in today’s school system. American students Rank 14th in reading, 17th in Science, and 25th in Math among economically developed countries. So you can’t just put all your weight on grades alone. I have a degree, and that does not make me smart. There are students who carry 4.0 ap gpas and get to college and flunk out. There are kids who have 2.2’s and go on to be great students in college. Handling adversity, is what makes you a successful in college and in life. Deshawn has had his share of adversity, and I know he wants this bad. He will shine. It’s better to learn your lesson’s early. Maddox and Jackson did the right thing. Just imagine if they covered it up, He may have messed up in college, where it is more difficult to bounce back. Deshawn will be ready and I can’t wait.

  • schalupa

    Principal Jackson will make a decision that is in the best interest of Ramirez and all the students at Monrovia HS. This past year Ramirez has been at an alternative school that appears to be meeting his academic needs better than the main HS campus. Academically, it may be the best fit. Athletically, the main HS campus is the best fit. Why not explore having him finish at Canyon and compete for the Wildcats?

  • Fair is Fair

    The only thing I have my doubts with is his inability to make good decisions. But if he passes the piss test and he’s earned it…let him back in.

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