No more football, for now, for duo charged in robbery

Two Syrupmaker football players charged last week in connection with the alleged robbery of a 25-year-old Cairo man were on the practice field Monday at Cairo High School contrary to the wishes of Superintendent Dr. Tommy Pharis.
However, Dr. Pharis is taking the blame for a “lack of clear communication between myself, the school administration and the coaching staff.”
Dr. Pharis said Tuesday, “My wishes were not clear and it is my responsibility for the breakdown in communication.”
Syrupmaker Coach Tom Fallaw had allowed Drake Sandford Robertson, 17, and Damion Dean Edwards, 18, both Syrupmaker running backs, to practice Monday on the scout team.
“There was never any plan for them to play in Friday night’s game against Bainbridge,” Dr. Pharis said.
Robertson and Edwards’ appearance on the practice field caused a stir within the community and Dr. Pharis says he received calls from concerned citizens.
Tuesday morning Dr. Pharis met with CHS Principal David McCurry to clear up any misunderstanding and the decision was made that until the legal issues involving the two student athletes is resolved they do not need to be practicing with the team, even on the scout team.
“We are not saying because they got in trouble they will never play again. What I am saying is while we have to consider the futures of these two young men, we also must consider the impact of their alleged actions and impact on the rest of the team, school and community,” Dr. Pharis said Tuesday afternoon.
Robertson and Edwards along with Steven Lamart Anderson and a 16-year-old girl have been charged in the alleged robbery.
According to the Grady County Sheriff’s Office, at 2:45 p.m. Sunday, August 21, an SUV driven by the girl stopped near Long Branch Road and all four suspects got out of the vehicle.
The victim, Jose Regeandiz Moran, 25, Cairo, told deputies that the three boys started kicking and punching him, and one took his wallet containing $300 cash. Moran said they also took his sunglasses, cell phone, keys and boots, then threw the boots in a ditch.
Shortly after Moran reported the crime the suspects were arrested by local lawmen. The three boys and the juvenile girl have been charged with robbery and conspiracy to commit a crime, both felonies. The girl was released into a guardian’s custody and the boys were released last Monday, after spending the night in jail, on a $5,500 bail.
“We have to make sure we are putting the right message out there. It was not the time for them to be on the field. This is not a death sentence or to say at some point in time they can play again for Cairo. They have been charged, but they are innocent until proven guilty. It is the best thing for the team and for the community to keep them from practicing and playing until this is resolved,” Dr. Pharis said.

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