A High School football player in Ohio is penalized for show of emotion on the field. It happened during last Friday's season opener for Louisville High School against Walsh Jesuit.
After receiver Alex Schooley scored the go-ahead touchdown to put his team up to 26-24 with only 1:15 left in the game, he pointed to the sky or heaven, as a tribute to a close friend who had died in a car accident the week before.
The crowd cheered along with the boys but then it all went downhill when a referee tosses a penalty flag calling it "excessive celebration".
This put Walsh in excellent field goal position. They drove down the field and scored a 29-yard field goal to win the game.
According to our sister station, WJW in Cleveland, the two players were penalized with a foul for excessive celebration.
Keri Hollifield, whose son also plays for Louisville, told WJW, she thought the players made the gesture for their friend who died because they thought he "was there watching them."
The assistant commissioner for the Ohio High School Athletic Association said the penalty was appropriate under the rules, WJW reported. Henry Zaborniak said that any prolonged gesture by a player "that draws attention to himself is a foul."
Without knowing the context of the gesture, it could be considered offensive to the other team even though it was not intended that way, Zaborniak said.
In the NFL, players have also been fined or prevented from paying tribute to friends and loved ones who they have lost.
According to the Huffington Post, in 2008, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark etched the number 21 in his eye black as a tribute to the late Sean Taylor, his former teammate when Clark was a Washington Redskin. The league fined him $5,000.
After Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry passed away, then-teammate Chad Ochocinco planned on wearing his jersey as a tribute. But the league rules prohibit it and wouldn't let the NFL Players Association reimburse him for any fine that he would have received.
Is this an "excessive" rule?
Viewers serve up their thoughts on Facebook:
Eva: "WRONG...just wrong!!!"
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