'Jena 6' defendant Mychal Bell won't play for Carroll High
Gannett News Service • August 28, 2008
BATON ROUGE — Despite impassioned pleas from his parents, attorneys and Carroll High School officials, Mychal Bell was denied an extra season of athletic eligibility by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association on Wednesday.
The LHSAA's five-member hardship committee unanimously voted not to grant Bell permission to play this season at Carroll High School in Monroe.
Bell, one of the "Jena Six" defendants accused of beating a fellow Jena High School student in December 2006 and the only one to be tried so far, has been attending classes at Carroll since January as part of his plea agreement.
After being arrested and charged as an adult for attempted second-degree murder in the attack on Justin Barker, Bell spent 10 months in prison awaiting trial. He was convicted of second-degree battery, only to have that conviction overturned on the grounds that he shouldn't have been tried as an adult.
Bell took a plea agreement as a juvenile and was sentenced to 18 months as a ward of the state.
Marcus Jones, Bell's father, pleaded for the hardship committee to give his son one more chance to play football.
After the decision, Jones laid the blame at the feet of Bell's lawyers.
"If it weren't for his attorney, Mychal would be able to play football," Jones said. "They coerced him into taking that plea agreement. If he wouldn't have taken that plea, he wouldn't be in the position he's in now."
What the hell is his dad talking about, this guy is nuts. If he hadn't taken the plea agreement he'd still be locked up, so how would he play football? This guy just dogs everybody who's helped his son. First he turns on Color of Change who raised most of the money for all the Jena 6's defense, now he's attacking the lawyers.
Alan Bean, the first activist to take up the Jena 6 case in a major way and is the one who got it out to the national media initially; has told me that Marcus took a disliking to Color of Change president James Rukur back in the early summer of last year; for reasons that aren't apparent.
Marcus Bell appears to have a problem with anyone who participates but doesn't jump for him. I don't think the guy is all there.