Outrageous Flagged for Faith: HS Football Player Penalized for Praying After TD
After scoring his first career touchdown in a Fort Myers High School football game, senior tight end Sam Turner celebrated by raising his hands to the sky in honor of a dead teammate, then kneeling and bowing his head in prayer.
For the brief celebration, he was given a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by the referee, which has left many upset.
Sam's father, Bob Turner, spoke to Anna Kooiman today on "Fox and Friends Weekend" and said that he was very proud of his son, who he described as a good kid.
Sam never meant to draw attention to himself, Turner said, noting that the entire prayer only lasted a few seconds.
Turner acknowledged the referee was just trying to enforce the rules, and the Florida High School Athletic Association, the South Gulf Football Officials Association, the school's principal and football coach all agreed that the referee made the right call.
"It’s a judgment call,” a FHSAA spokesman said. “The penalty is not because he prayed. It’s because the official determined he was trying to focus attention on himself and that’s the bigger issue in the official’s viewpoint."
Turner concluded that Christians are called to fight for justice and against oppression.
"We're fighting for the right to pray, but the biggest oppression was the death of Sam's teammate in a drive-by shooting."
"Those are the things we need to fight for."
Watch the clip above and check out the YouTube video of the touchdown, prayer and resulting penalty below and let us know what you think in the comments.