Friday Night Lights Friday Night Lights

It’s safe to say that Friday Night Lights, the 1990 bestselling book by H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger about a West Texas high school football team and the issues around them in Odessa, Texas, is a beloved classic. It’s spawned a movie as well as a critically acclaimed TV show.

In the Iowa town of Mason City, some very disturbed people have decided to ban the book from school libraries.

It’s one of 19 books recently removed from school shelves, including Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple,” Theodore Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy,” and Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

One thing many of the books seem to have in common is that they feature strong Black characters dealing with racism and societal issues. One can certainly infer why certain people would prefer that their children not read those books.

The Gazette’s Mike Hlas spoke with Bissinger about the decision, which was apparently done with the help of artificial intelligence software. On one hand, the author is honored to be in such illustrious company.

“I’m flattered to be in the same company,” Bissinger said. “These are great, great books.”

When pressed about the decision to ban books because they’ve been deemed inappropriate for children, Bissinger scoffed at whatever reasoning or criteria these people came up with.

“This use of AI is ridiculous,” Bissinger said, “There’s no sex at all. I’ve never depicted a sex act. I don’t know what the (expletive) they’re talking about. I purposely stayed away from that.”

“My book is being falsely depicted. The tragedy is, this is a great book for kids. It is a great book for teenage males because they don’t like to read anything. But they devour this book, and I know because I’ve had over 30 years of emails telling me that. The idea that this book has been banned is totally against what our society is and should be, freedom of speech and the ability of kids to choose what they want to read. Absolutely tragic. Not just my book, but all the books they cited.”

Understandably, the sports world (and many other people with common sense) had some thoughts on the decision.

One thing we can all agree on is that, never in human history, have the people banning books come out of it looking like “the good guys.” We’ll see if the adults in the room figure this out.

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to