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article imageTrack team disqualified after Derrick Hayes gestures to thank God

By JohnThomas Didymus     May 4, 2013 in Sports
Columbus - The Columbus High School Mighty Cardinals were disqualified after finishing first at the 4X100-meter relay race last weekend in Columbus, Texas, due to a gesture that the anchor runner Derrick Hayes made as he crossed the finish line.
The track team won the race by seven yards, their fastest race of the year, according to Superintendent Robert O'Connor, KHOU reports. But after sprinter Derrick Hayes pointed to the sky to thank God for the victory, the team was disqualified.
According to Runnersworld, his father said that as he crossed the finish line in first position, he "put his hand by his ear and just pointed to the heavens."
KHOU reports that Derrick's father K.C.Hayes said he believed his son was giving thanks to God.
But officials said raising a hand to the sky violates rules governing high school sports which ban "excessive celebration."
K.C. said: "It was a reaction. You're brought up your whole life that God gives you good things, you're blessed."
Breitbart.com gives the impression that the team was disqualified for making a religious gesture. The website reports that "Columbus High School said that religious gestures are not banned, but they must be done off of the competition field or court."
The statement led to bizarre scenario conjectures that had Derrick pointed to the sky to say "Look at that weird cloud," or "Hey, I hurt my finger," his pointing would have been acceptable.
Breitbart.com goes on to report that many interviewed around town said the sport authorities violated rights of religious freedom.
However, Runnersworld reports the regulations simply forbid "excessive celebration" which includes raising the hands, regardless of whether the gesture is religious or not.
KHOU corroborates Runnersworld, stating that Columbus ISD Superintendent Robert O’Connor, said the team was disqualified for violating the rule governing high school sports that there can be no excessive celebration which includes raising hands: that is, the team was disqualified for "excessive celebration" and not for making a religious gesture.
KHOU reports O'Connor, said: “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."
According to KeyeTV, Derrick's disappointed Dad, said: "You cross a finish line and you’ve accomplished a goal and within seconds it’s gone. 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?”
The disqualification means the team will not take part in the state championships.
More about High school, track team, God, Derrick hayes, Columbus High School Mighty Cardinals
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