High School Football Player Ejected From Game After Praising God in the End Zone

PHOTO CREDIT: KNXV
PHOTO CREDIT: KNXV

What should have been a celebratory moment in the end zone at an Arizona high school football game has turned into controversy. Running back Pedro Banda, a senior at Dysart High School in El Mirage, Ariz., said he was ejected from the Oct. 30 game because of unsportsmanlike conduct.

Banda told ABC News Phoenix Affiliate KNXV that after scoring the touchdown that put his team into the playoffs for the first time in more than two decades, “I put my hand up to my face mask and I pointed to the sky and I looked up for about four seconds.” The referee threw a flag and ejected Banda from the game. Banda is now ineligible to play in the first playoff game this weekend.

Dysart High School Athletic Director Tyrus Timbrooks told ABC News that Banda was ejected from the game because the motion was his second offense that night. Timbrooks said the referee flagged Banda earlier for an aggressive argument with a player on the opposing team.

After reviewing the tape from the game the next day, Timbrooks said it was immediately clear that there should not have been a flag, adding that Banda’s praising God motion is something Banda typically does after scoring a touchdown.

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SOURCE: ABC News, Alyssa Pone