Football rivalries can be intense. But the intensity belongs on the field.

Last week’s scheduled Huntsville-Grissom high school football game was postponed to Sept. 24 because of racially insensitive social media posts. The posts “turned racially motivated and violent images into ‘rivalry material,’” according to a letter sent by Huntsville \City Schools superintendent Christie Finley.

She did the right thing by postponing the game and encouraging families “to take time to discuss important issues like respect and inclusion with their students at home.”

There is no place for racism and insensitively on the field, in the stands or anywhere else in this world.

I covered a rivalry game Friday night for AL.com, the 59th annual Cotton Classic between Buckhorn High and Hazel Green High. It’s a big game every year for members of both communities.

As an Auburn journalism alum, I root for my alma mater Tigers year-round especially when we play archrival Alabama. The game means bragging rights for fans of both schools.

But good rivalries mean mutual respect. We root against each other but we’re still friends – before and after the game anyway.

Sports give us a positive healthy diversion from our daily lives and the challenges we face in providing for ourselves and our families. Sports teach values like teamwork, discipline, perseverance and resilience.

We want to beat our rivals but we want to see our rivals stay safe and succeed in his difficult world. We fight hard on the athletic field but we shake hands before and after the game. Ultimately we’re all members of the same team.

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