Tags: Florida | Football | Prayer

Support Pours In for Fla. Prep Player Penalized for TD Prayer

By    |   Tuesday, 04 Nov 2014 03:19 PM

A Florida high school senior who prayed after scoring his first touchdown Friday night and was penalized 15 yards for “unsportsmanlike conduct” is being deluged with support from fans and teammates.
 
After catching a touchdown pass, Sam Turner, a senior at Fort Myers High School, kneeled down, pointed towards heaven and thanked God. He then paid tribute to JoJo Brunson, a teammate who was murdered last year.

Turner (whose team went on to a 49-0 victory) said he had received considerable support from family and friends. 

“They are proud of me that I stood firm in my faith. It's very cool to see how everyone is taking it,” he said. “My teammates are giving me tons of support. They all know I'm [a] strong believer, even though it cost us 15 yards.”

Asked if he would do that again if he scored another touchdown, Turner indicated he might celebrate on the sideline to avoid drawing a penalty.

Florida football officials denied that Turner was penalized for praying. Both the South Gulf Football Officials Association and the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) said Turner received the penalty for violating a rule covering unsportsmanlike conduct penalties which include “any delayed, excessive or prolonged act by which a player attempts to focus attention upon himself.”

“It’s a judgment call,” an FHSAA representative said, adding that the penalty was imposed “because the official determined [Turner] was trying to focus attention on himself” and not because the athlete was praying.

National Football League rules also bar similar celebrations, but include an exemption for prayer. Earlier this season, the NFL said officials made a mistake by penalizing Husain Abdullah of the Kansas City Chiefs for falling to his knees for a Muslim prayer. 

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A Florida high school senior who prayed after scoring his first touchdown Friday night and was penalized 15 yards for “unsportsmanlike conduct” is being deluged with support from fans and teammates.
Florida, Football, Prayer
289
2014-19-04
Tuesday, 04 Nov 2014 03:19 PM
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