Riley Nelson knows there’s a 99.9 percent chance it’s over and done with.
But that hasn’t kept him from sounding off on the situation.
The former BYU and Utah State quarterback, who now is in his first year as an assistant coach at alma mater Logan High School, spoke to the Tribune on Tuesday afternoon, a day after it was confirmed that quarterback and younger brother Chase would be serving a one-game suspension in the Class 4A quarterfinal Friday night against Olympus.
Chase Nelson was ejected in the second quarter of Logan’s Nov. 1 first-round game against Bountiful, a game in which the Grizzlies held on to win 22-17. The Logan star was ejected for allegedly kicking a Bountiful player with malicious intent after scoring a touchdown.
Riley Nelson is flabbergasted — to say the least — at the decision of the Utah High School Activities Association to not give Chase "due process" in at least hearing out his story for a potential appeal, a process the UHSAA does not abide by when it comes to ejections.
"The UHSAA claims to be advocates for student-athletes," Riley Nelson said, "but there was no due process given to a student-athlete. The UHSAA is being stubborn, negligent and protecting a part-time employee over protecting a kid."
That’s his main beef with the situation.
"It was the fact that we were denied the ability to submit evidence exonerating him from any wrongdoing," Riley said.
At first, Riley didn’t believe his younger brother. After Chase told his parents that he felt a burning in his knee after the tackle in the end zone — the same feeling he felt when he tore his MCL in his right knee a year ago — a feeling that led to immediately wanting to eradicate the pain, which specialist Dr. Marlowe Goble said led to the kick of the leg.
"I undressed the guy verbally in front of the whole school," Riley said. "I told Chase you’re everything from selfish, you ruined the team’s goals, but even I had to grow up and go to Chase and apologize."
As reported by Logan coach Mike Favero on Monday, Chase suffered a strained, bruised and partially torn MCL in his left knee on the play.
When asked if Chase even could play had a supposed appeal been reviewed and the ejection reversed, Riley said, "That’s up to the medical staff at Logan and the kid as an individual. It’s not whether he could or could not play this week. It’s the fact that you’re taking the process away, the process that they’ve taken away choice."
Riley said he’s not looking for a way to absorb pity for Chase or the situation, but he said the Logan quarterback often has been emotional since Friday afternoon.
"Let’s say Logan loses Friday ... Chase Nelson will have to live with the ramifications of this for the rest of his life," Riley said. "The UHSAA and officials go on life as usual, but Chase will be an innocent victim for the rest of his life. Rather than being remembered and playing out his career the way it was supposed to play out, it’s now been influenced with stubborn, negligent adults whose aim are supposed to be at protecting kids."
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