Last week a controversy from a high school football game between Emmett and Caldwell made its way into the news in Idaho and in media outlets nationwide.
The issue does not appear to be going away any time soon until more questions are answered. Bundy himself spent one hour on the Nate Shelman Show (670 KBOI) discussing the events of the game.
A number of Idahoans have asked Idaho Dispatch additional questions about the cancellation of the game.
The football game was ended early according to Caldwell school officials after a call to the Canyon County dispatch was determined to be a threat to Caldwell High School. Idaho Dispatch is still waiting for the transcripts of the 911 calls and we requested those documents through a “Public Records Request” on October 5th.
The game was canceled at halftime with Emmett winning 35-0. It was unclear at that time what the conclusion of the game was going to be because the game was ended early with no official result.
However, Emmett High School has been given the victory according to Emmett coach Rich Hargitt.
Idaho Dispatch wrote a report on the game where Ammon Bundy was denied entry into the stadium because he refused to wear a mask. Bundy’s son plays for the Emmett football team. Bundy was told he could go to Brother’s Park to watch the game but Bundy refused.
Bundy instead watched the game from outside the perimeter fence and offered to pay to watch from the location he was standing.
The Emmett football coach told Bundy directly that the game would be canceled if he did not leave the premises or comply with the mask-wearing rules. However, just as the band concluded playing, the announcer told the spectators that there was a security concern and that the game was canceled.
After the game, a number of people on social media commented that Caldwell got the game canceled because their team was down 35-0 and they used Bundy as an excuse to cancel the game.
However, Caldwell’s football coach Steven Fleshman sent Idaho Dispatch a message disputing claims that he wanted the game to be canceled because of the score.
Here is the message that Fleshman send Idaho Dispatch,
I wish for you to clear the air with any misleading information connected to my name… first of all the coach in question was not me or any of my staff they were all Emmett coaches. We were not aware of anything until we were in the locker room. I had nothing to do with canceling the game. We are playing with a very young team and every rep is important regardless of the score. We were preparing to return to the field and told to stay in for safety. All of the people saying we quit because of the score need to know how hard a team full of frosh and sophomores fight just to be out there. It is a absolute shame that all of this has happened, but to keep seeing my name and my team get continually bashed is ridiculous.
We responded to Fleshman’s commented about the “misleading information” which did not come from Idaho Dispatch. It is unclear to Idaho Dispatch what misinformation Fleshman is referring to because he was not mentioned in our article about the incident.
Fleshman says he did not have anything to do with canceling the game and that his team was ready to come back out and play and that is what they were getting ready to do until a School Resource Officer told them not to leave for “safety” according to Fleshman.
There are a number of questions that still remain and now a new video was sent to Idaho Dispatch with a threat from the Caldwell Principal, Anita Wilson, telling Bundy that the game will be canceled at halftime by order of the Caldwell superintendent.
Idaho Dispatch asked Bundy what timeframe of the game this video was taken where Wilson and Emmett Principal Wade Carter approached him. Bundy told Idaho Dispatch the conversation took place late in the 2nd quarter.
Here is the video Idaho Dispatch obtained:
This means that Bundy was warned once just before halftime by the Caldwell principal that the game would be canceled if he didn’t leave or comply with the rules, and that just as halftime started he was warned by the Emmett football coach that the game would be canceled if he didn’t comply.
Both the Caldwell principal and Emmett coach claim that the threat to cancel the game was coming from Caldwell School Superintendent Dr. N. Shalene French.
Caldwell School District Communications Director Allison Westfall answered several questions for Idaho Dispatch about decisions that were made during the game.
According to Westfall’s answers, she says that Caldwell Police officer Eric Philips notified the Caldwell principal and assistant principal about the threats. Westfall said that the notification came just after halftime had begun and while the band was playing.
Westfall then tells Idaho Dispatch that Principal Wilson and Superintendent French made the decision to cancel the game and then discussed how to notify staff and evacuate the field.
From the timeline provided, this means that Wilson was notified of the threat and the decision to cancel was all made while the band was playing. It is unclear at this time how long the band was playing while all of these events occurred. Idaho spoke with two Caldwell parents who were at the game and wished to remain anonymous. They told Idaho Dispatch that they believe the band only played for six minutes, eight at the most.
Immediately upon the band ending the game was canceled.
Idaho Dispatch has reached out to the Caldwell Police Department for questions surrounding their involvement at the game.
The Caldwell parents Idaho Dispatch spoke with said there seemed to be “no urgency” on the part of the Caldwell Police Department to protect them as they were leaving the stadium. The parents said as they were leaving the police were mostly standing around Ammon Bundy.
In one of Bundy’s videos, you can hear and see Bundy being heckled by a number of spectators and Ammon trying to interact with some of them.
You can also see police come and stand near Bundy not long after those interactions begin.
Idaho Dispatch would like to ask the Caldwell Police Department about the nature of the threat and what their response was once they told Caldwell school officials about the threat.
Additionally, Idaho Dispatch has questions about the threat from both the principal of Caldwell High as well as the Emmett coach on canceling the game at half time and if they intended to follow through on that threat but did not need to once the game was canceled because of the threat to the school.
Idaho Dispatch will continue to update Idahoans on any additional information we obtain.
Tags: Ammon Bundy, Caldwell, Emmett, Eric Philips, Football, Shalene French