The following video is from a High School football game in Ohio. Two players celebrate a go ahead touchdown, and are subsequently penalized for it.
I would suggest turning the volume down as this is shot by someone in the crowd, and there is lots of screaming.
The penalty pushed the team back, where they failed a two point conversion, and gave their opponent excellent field position, which they used to kick the game winning field goal.
Seems like a severe penalty for simply pointing to the sky doesn’t it?
Well it wasn’t just two players honoring God, or trying to call attention to themselves. One of their teammates, a 16 year old young man known as Dom, had died a week earlier in a car crash. The kid who catches the touchdown, Alex Schooley, had been a pallbearer at Dom’s funeral, and the gesture was meant as a tribute to their fallen friend. The flag was later backed up because it could have been deemed offensive to the other players.
First, there is no way that the referees in a high school football game, in Ohio, would be unaware of a tragedy like a 16 year old boy losing his life. Especially if he played for one of the team’s participating in a game they were scheduled to work. So shouldn’t restraint have been the better part of valor in this situation?
Aside from that, the players were not demonstrative, or even antagonistic towards the other team, and the only way it could be construed as offensive was if the other team happened to be in the sky. I don’t believe they were.
A couple of young men, who had just endured the hardest week of their young lives, should not have to worry about how they choose to honor a friend because we have become obsessed with enforcing ticky tack rules that rape sports of any raw emotion.
The field should be one place where they can escape the unfathomable cruelty that life is capable of.
Let them be kids. Let them play.