Dec 6, 2011, 1:38 PM EDT
A Boston (Mass.) Cathedral High quarterback who raised his arm for two strides during a touchdown run was flagged for taunting, resulting in his team losing their state championship game. But now the QB’s father is saying that his son, Matt Owen, was simply thanking God by pointing to the sky, and that the penalty was unfair. Kenneth Owens has hand delivered a letter to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association asking for an explanation.
“He raised his hand because he knew was going to the pinnacle,” Kenneth Owens told the Boston Herald on Monday. “There was nothing dishonorable about the play. There was no doubt it was a touchdown. He gets 20 yards in — and he’s not thinking about the rule — and he just raised his hand.
“He handed the ball to the referee. He didn’t spike it. He goes to a Catholic school where they are taught that their God is in the sky. So I know when he raised his hand, he was thanking his Lord for what happened to him today. Football is a team sport. There’s lot of kids that are hurting today.”
But in the MIAA there is no appeals process, even when you kick it all the way to the Man Upstairs.
With the TD nullified, Blue Hills High went on to beat Cathedral in the Division 4A Super Bowl game, 16-12.
But the assigner of officials said the call was correct.
“It’s tough, but the official absolutely made the right call according to the letter of the law,” Joe Cacciatore told the Herald. “It says it right there in the rules that any attempt to draw attention to yourself, whether it is pointing the finger, raising a fist or anything like that, is a penalty. We’ve been instructed to call it when it happens, it’s zero tolerance now.”
Ah, I was waiting for the term “zero tolerance” to make its debut in this story. File this along with the first graders suspended for bringing a plastic knife to school to spread butter. Where’s our zero tolerance for blundering idiots? Taking common sense and individual judgement out of the equation is never a good idea.
And besides, if the player was actually praising God as his father claimed, he wasn’t calling attention to himself, now was he?
Cathedral flagged down by Blue Hills [Boston Globe]
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