First Posted: 1/15/2009
It's bad form - and potentially costly - for players and coaches to bellyache about officiating following an athletic contest, particularly a defeat, because doing so is easily dismissed as sour grapes.
We are not similarly constrained, so we will say it loud and clear: The holding call charged against Lumberton's own Sean Locklear, No. 75 and a right tackle for the Seattle Seahawks, during the third quarter of Sunday's Super Bowl XL was horrendous. But it was worse than that because of the timing. It denied the Seahawks a terrific opportunity to score a touchdown, take a 17-14 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers and perhaps garner football's biggest prize.
We hope, when Locklear returns to Lumberton, we will get a chance to talk to him about that call, but also his journey to football's greatest stage. We would have liked to have done so in the weeks or days leading up to the Super Bowl, but despite a determined effort, that never happened.
We understand completely. It was a busy time for Locklear, and we are sure his attention was on the Steelers, and not the hometown paper.
But his is a wonderful story, one that we have told before, but now has a new chapter. Locklear, through dedication and hard work, graduated Lumberton High School, parlayed his football skills into a free education at N.C. State, where he was one of the best players on some of the Wolfpack's best teams, and was drafted in the third round to become the only Lumbee Indian we know of who has played in the NFL.
But Locklear hasn't forgot where he's from. On Sunday, during the pre-game introductions, each player is given the opportunity to say his name and where he is from. Players typically use the opportunity as a chance to offer tribute to the college where they played football.
But not Locklear, who simply said, “Sean Locklear, Robeson County.” Now that was a good call.