Posted: 5:22 pm Friday, July 17th, 2009

Nike kicks Pahokee out of 7-on-7 for second straight year 

By Jason Lieser

Pahokee’s trip to Beaverton, Ore., for Nike’s 7-on-7 tournament has been cut short.

ESPN first reported that the Blue Devils, who competed as the “Vapor Jets,” were dismissed from the national event.

Nike spokesman Rodney Knox released a one-sentence statement saying, “Pahokee High School has been removed from Nike’s 2009 ’7on’ competition due to code of conduct violations,” and declined to elaborate on the issue.

Blue Devils coach Blaze Thompson declined comment.

Pahokee’s relationship with Nike has been particularly interesting dating back to last July, when the shoe company sent the Blue Devils home early after they brawled with Miami-Booker T. Washington at a tournament in Miramar.

Pahokee later punished itself for the incident by withdrawing from the adidas national tournament later last summer.

In September, when Pahokee’s Norman Griffith was shot and killed hours after the Blue Devils’ homecoming game, Nike was among those who rushed to offer support for the program. Nike printed t-shirts and banners for Pahokee in remembrance of Griffith.