Posted May 05, 2013

High schoolers disqualified from track meet after runner points to sky

Derrick Hayes crossed the finish line to win the 4×100 relay for Columbus High School (Texas) and made a gesture countless athletes have made for years, pointing to the sky to thank God.

But Hayes’ “act of faith” cost the Mighty Cardinals the meet and a chance to advance to the state championships, as the team was disqualified for the gesture, according to KHOU News in Houston.

The action was interpreted as violating a high school sports rule that bars excessive acts of celebration, including raising hands.

From KHOU’s Andrew Horansky and Tiffany Craig:

His father believes he was giving thanks in a gesture to God.

“It was a reaction,” father KC Hayes said. “I mean you’re brought up your whole life that God gives you good things, you’re blessed.”

Columbus ISD Superintendent Robert O’Connor said the team had won the race by seven yards. It was their fastest race of the year.

“I don’t think that the situation was technically a terrible scenario as far as his action, but the action did violate the context of the rule,” Supt. O’Connor said.

But critics, including the runner’s father, see it as a violation of religious freedom. Some of them have even complained to the state, which does not appear to be budging.

“You cross a finish line and you’ve accomplished a goal and within seconds it’s gone,” KC Hayes said. “To see four kids, you know, what does that tell them about the rest of their lives? You’re going to do what’s right, work extra hard, and have it ripped away from you?”


64 comments
mjgarske
mjgarske

Good.  I'm so damn tired of athletes making such a show of their faith.  Nobody cares.  Just play the damn game already.

tennishog
tennishog

So, it's okay for the opposing girls' tennis team we faced in the City finals to have bench players wave pom-poms and cheer when our girls made errors, to hit serves as our girls' backs were turned and say, "I'm sorry, I didn't know you weren't ready," or for their spectators/parents to shout out their team name just as our girls would be hitting a serve...?  Wow, and this young man just raises his fingers to the sky... Incredible!  This is taking the read of "excessive celebration" a bit too far, don't you think?  

truebob
truebob

Only half the story:

 

The UIL’s report said after Hayes raised his hand, a meet official approached him to warn him of a possible disqualification, should that behavior continue. The official then said the student reacted disrespectfully, prompting the disqualification. Officials at the meet conferred and the disqualification was upheld.

"The basis for the disqualification was due to the student-athlete behaving disrespectfully," according to the release.

 

Any official in the country would have disqualified him.

 

Pares Hilton
Pares Hilton

Hypocrisy in school administration to appease the libs through political correctness

BADMAN
BADMAN

God ....why did you choose this disrespectful kid to win the race? Im sure you could have found someone more worthy.

MichaelBowers
MichaelBowers

When will people realize that your Freedom of Speech and Religion don't carry into everyone else's daily lives.  Yes, you are free to pray to whatever god you choose.  You are free to say whatever you want.  Employer's and educators (whom have made the rules for their specific districts) are also free to make the determination of what rules to follow.  You don't like those rules, you are free to join whatever school you want to that will let you express your freedoms.  Hell, this is America, start your own school or your own private track division that allows whatever.  However, you chose this school and this division to run in.  If your going to do so, then you must play be their rules.  Feel free to break them, but be prepared to suffer the consequences without bitching to everyone else about it.

bjornbonn
bjornbonn

where do they find school administrators these days? you can't raise your hands after winning a race...you can't bring sports balls to school or some kid will get hit with it...Easter eggs are now called Spirit Spheres in certain districts to appease religious zealots...what a crock

LeilaniHernandez
LeilaniHernandez

so where is the video? unless we see the video, there is no evidence to overturn the rule made by the people who actually saw it.

HomerSmith
HomerSmith

The key word in being ignored here is 'excessive.' There was no 'excessive' celebration, therefore he did not break a rule. This is not about religion or free speech, it's about heavy handed school officials who have forgotten that these students should be lauded for their hard work, not arbitrarily punished. Who is this spineless superintendent unwilling to stand up for these kids? Even if you believe they violated the 'context' of the rule (which I do not believe they did), they certainly didn't violate the 'spirit' of the rule. Disgraceful. 

Northof53rd
Northof53rd

nobody even has a gun in this story and everyone's still paranoid; what a basket case the U.S. is turning into. People actually used to envy your culture and country; now they mock it...because the arrogant unaccountable rich people in charge have to keep their hands, and eyes, and newspaper articles, and television, and political interest ALWAYS served...its basically serfdom, with cell phones. Classic Americana....always have a bogeyman

6marK6
6marK6

IT WAS NOT A GESTURE TO GOD! A bunch of political idiots are trying to make something more out of this than it was.

MichaelJFoy
MichaelJFoy

Separation of religion and State does not mean an individual cannot pray of his/her own volition in a government sponsored forum. It only means they cannot be compelled to participate. Or according to the Supreme Court the public officials cannot lead in a religious event. That did not happen here.

Pharmouth
Pharmouth

Funny that a God would help him win but do nothing to help at the Boston Marathon. Strange days indeed.

Pharmouth
Pharmouth

Tiger Woods, now this guy, blacks think the rules don't apply to them.

DerekDettloff
DerekDettloff

welcome to the world where Christianity is being outlawed.  If he had saluted Allah, it would have been ok.  

boris399
boris399

Welcome to the world of liberal progressivism which infests most of our educational system.  Zero tolerance for religious expression, the 2nd Amendment, and freedom of speech.  Students now days are indoctrinated to the liberal progressive agenda rather than being given an education.  Kids are being suspended from school for wearing the American flag on their t-shirts, mentioning the word gun (even if it's a Nerf gun they're talking about), and in general for going against the liberal progressive world view.  Future generations will not mind so much when their rights are being taken away, as that is what the liberal progressive agenda is all about and what they're being conditioned to accept now.

BiffDude
BiffDude

Nice lie.  It is amazing there isn't a video showing exactly what happened.  Amazing that the father signed a written statement acknowledging that there was NO religious denial on the UIL's part in disqualifying them.  Teams were told on Thursday about the rules and warned about this very thing, yet the first thing the kid does when he crosses the line is to break the very rule they were warned about.  The track official warned him to stop but it was only after the kid became disrespectful that the official declared them disqualified.  Get off the religious persecution BS and tell the truth SI.

coach400/500
coach400/500

he wasn't d'qed for the hand gesture; I understand it was for the comment to the official following that; SI get the story right

PaulBishop
PaulBishop

These are children and this is something they will never forget. It is amazing what we won't discipline kids for. This is oneof the worst things I have seen in some time as far as sports goes.

JonBrackett
JonBrackett

If you can't celebrate your success then what do they want you to do: celebrate your failures?

James C
James C

I am a track and field official in Michigan, which follows the same national federation of high school athletics rules that Texas likely follows.

 

In the NFHS rulebook, the rule that covers this situation, and likely was the basis for the disqualifiation was rule 4-6-2, which states

 

"Unacceptable conduct by a competitor includes is but is not limited to: willfully failing to follow directions of a meet official, using profanity not directed to a meet official or another competitor, or any action that could bring DISCREDIT/DISHONOR to his/her school."

 

Penalty: Disqualification from the event.

 

I see absolutely nothing in this rule which says pointing to the sky is unacceptable conduct. I also see nothing in the preceeding rule which covers unsportsmanlike conduct, and requires disqualification from the event and further particiaption in the meet.

 

Without actually seeing the race, and what the runner did, I can't say how I would handle this situation, but I will say this. As long as the runner does the gesture quickly and discretely I have nothing what-so-ever. If he raises the hands above the head and continues to keep them raised for more than a second or two, I might be having a chat with the runner but would not DQ them. The only way I am calling a DQ on this is if the athlete does this in such a manner which is obviously intended to show up an opponent or taunt the opponent. Then I have unacceptable or even unsporting conduct and will DQ a competitor.

 

I have been aound this sport for a number of years as an athlet, coach, and official and have worked at several state championship meets as an event official in Michigan. I have seen this very same act many times, at least as it is described in the article, and NEVER have I seen or considered someone should be DQ'ed for doing it.

 

 

Mark Stephens
Mark Stephens

It is sad that the kid doesn't want to say anything because the school might get him in trouble.  If US students are really falling behind just look at the complete and total morons in charge of this decision.  They are either super evil, or super dumb.  

Mark Stephens
Mark Stephens

Supt. O’Connor, is a moron if he thinks it violated the rules.  It wasn't  a direct violation, or something gross.  Just some D-bags thinking it over and pretending they are important. I've met some Sup't all they did was learn suck d... to get an easy a.. job.    

 

The officials should be beaten.  

SkyeADG
SkyeADG

I'm of two opinions on this - and both say that this was asinine.  First, there should be celebration when you win.  It's one thing to have an asinine show on the track every time your team wins (or in the end zone or after every home run) which detracts from the sport or causes a delay in the event.  However, while there is more to competing than winning, athletes, especially student athletes need to be allowed to have a celebration when they win.  If it hurts the other teams' feelings, then so what?  They can use that to try harder next time.  Perhaps some of their runners will come off the track celebrating a personal best.  My first year swimming competitively in HS all our team of 5 swimmers EVER celebrated were personal bests.  I played on a few all-start baseball teams, and I played in one league where every four games we celebrated if the top team in the league didn't score more than 20 runs against us in 5.5 innings (there was one loss I remember that was 53 to 1 - ahem).  Yet, when we won, we celebrated.  We had a team prayer before and after every game, asking God to watch over all of the players and their families.  When the kid who couldn't hit the ball if you put it on a T for him got that very first hit, we celebrated.  We even - gasp and horror - jumped up and down and ran around yelling "we won, we won" on occasion.

 

Second, beyond any celebration, let's say this WAS (I haven't watched video of the event) this young man's way of thanking God for his victory.  For providing him with the strength and stamina to complete the race.  For rewarding his hard work.  For whatever reason, he chose to acknowledge God's part in his life and in this event.  The government, in the form of the state of Texas, has a LEGAL REQUIREMENT to not interfere in any way.  The courts have ruled many, many times that the US Constitution makes it clear that government at any (including state and local governments) level may not prohibit ANY religious activity that does not endanger others.  

 

Personally, I think every single member of the regulating body who made this stupid decision should first be made to watch "The New Guy" for 24 hours straight so they can learn a thing or two about Texas sports.  Then they should all be fired for stupidity and banned for life from officiating in any youth sport.

HeyMoe!
HeyMoe!

they will let you holler "I'M A QUEER" to the world and you get praised but, give thanks to God for good things that he bestows on you and you get punished! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?!

doghockey
doghockey

 @truebob Had this over zealous official not approached this kid over a sheer act  of celebration, there would have been no issue.   You folks and your politically correct virus are infecting the country.

doghockey
doghockey

 @MichaelBowers Within that entire rant, you never did explain how raising one's hand in celebration after winning a race should be considered a foul of any sort.

lwglow2478
lwglow2478

 @6marK6 ,?! His own FATHER said it WAS a gesture to God.  Just like it is when other athletes have done it!  And a gesture to God should never be cause for disqualification!

lwglow2478
lwglow2478

 @Pharmouth ?!?  On the contrary, some black athletes have been singled out by some bigoted people for no good reason. Shaun Micheel, a white golfer, admitted to taking extra testosterone. Shaun Micheel won a major after taking extra testosterone.  If that had been Tiger? All heck would have broken loose.  This young boy, a track athlete acknowledging God, was made to feel as if that were wrong -- despite the FACT that athletes in nearly all sports have been doing that for YEARS! This happened in Texas?  Figures.

carlosmorales72
carlosmorales72

 @Pharmouth

 You are a stupid racist and moron. Your prejudice made you comment without even checking the video. That's the epitome of ignorance and bigotry.

MichaelJFoy
MichaelJFoy

 @Jay1217

 You mean when he stood up for his Constitutionally protected right to free speech and freedom of religion? Good for him.

Jay1217
Jay1217

 @DerekDettloff By the way Allah is an Arabic word that means GOD; thus Christians who speak Arabic or Aramaic, as Jesus spoke, would say Allah or Illah

MichaelJFoy
MichaelJFoy

 @boris399

 Both the far left and far right are using the same tactic to pit us against each other. They then will be working together to restore security and impose a new world order

badger2012
badger2012

 @boris399 Welcome to the world of conservative hysteria, which clogs our TV and radio airwaves and the comments sections of news stories.  There's zero tolerance for non-traditional viewpoints, a secular United States wherein the separation between church and state is respected, or reacting to events within the bounds of reason.  Kids in the homes caught in this maelstrom of hysteria are being inundated with the right wing views of Fox News hosts like Sean Hannity, while in school radical conservatives with a 19th century view of science advocate teaching creationism instead of biology.  One can only hope these children avoid the brainwashing, otherwise they'll perpetuate the cycle of hysteria, ignorance and outright xenophobia with their eventual offspring.

James22
James22

 @boris399 One can only imagine the reaction if such a rule was used to disqualify someone who made a black power salute or some sort of gay agenda gesture.

MichaelJFoy
MichaelJFoy

 @BiffDude

 When the rules violate the Constitution then those rules should be violated. Way to go kid. The spirit of the Sixties may yet live.

James22
James22

 @BiffDude So... it's not persecution if they tell you they're going to do it to you before they do it?

JuanPeinado
JuanPeinado

 @BiffDude And who are you exactly, to have such detailed knowledge of the events and rational for disqualification?  Sorry If I doubt your credibility.

JuanPeinado
JuanPeinado

 @coach400/500 What did he say?  And from which school was the official?   If he wasn't dq'd for the gesture, it is not enough to say "he was dq'd for something he said".   What did he say and who claims he said it?  Otherwise it is just typical flimsy justification from the idiotic world of public schools.

James22
James22

 @JonBrackett Are you kidding? Failures are WONDERFUL! If you're a failure, then you need the government to support you, and you'll vote for the people who promise to make government take care of you. Failures are exactly what that type of politician wants!

Prussian11
Prussian11

 @JonBrackett

 Hadn't you heard?  Everyone wins and gets a participation trophy these days.  Winning and losing just isn't fair anymore.

James C
James C

After reading an article from Texas, with the UIL statement included, the issue may not have been the finger in the air, as the team/parents/student claim. It may be the fact that he acted disrespectful towards the official, which under rule 4-6-1 is grounds for a DQ from the event, and also further participation in the meet.

 

I suspect he doesn't want to say anything because if he does, the entire story will get out, and he will look like a fool.

mike.russell
mike.russell

 @HeyMoe! It's that queers exist but some believe God may not, so if you give thanks to Him it could be a Manti Te'o moment.

6marK6
6marK6

 @MichaelJFoy  @Jay1217 Rules are rules. Intelligent people follow them . He did not have his constitutional rights infringed upon, he just got disqualified.

MichaelJFoy
MichaelJFoy

 @James C

 He has said he does fear reprisal next year if he says anything at all.

Prussian11
Prussian11

 @mike.russell  @HeyMoe!

 Many kids grew up with imaginary friends ... guess we better clamp down on that practice before it catches on huh?  I can only hope your statement was full of sarcasm.  God exists.  Denial or lack of Faith is a choice ... just as it is to have Faith and believe in God.  Why is it so threatening that people believe in God?  Yes, Christians will approach you and try to lead you to being saved.  That is their call ... but no one is legislating out the atheists, muslims, or any other non-Christian faith.  Why is that exactly? 

MichaelJFoy
MichaelJFoy

 @Prussian11  @mike.russell  @HeyMoe!

 I believe in God, but have less faith in religious organizations. They are the cause of power struggles that lead to the events in your statement. To attempt to answer your question it only threatening if your 'God' belongs to another power group. People forget that God has the real power. They should be careful about asking Him to use it. He just may.