High School Running Back Ejected for Thanking God

Pedro Banda is a senior at Dysart High School in El Mirage, Arizona. He is also a running back on the school's football team, yet, he was ejected from a game on October 30 for praising God after a touchdown.

During that time of elation, Banda put his hand to his face mask and then pointed to the sky--looking up "for about four seconds." That was when a referee threw a flag and ejected the 17-year-old. As a result, Banda is ineligible to play in the team's playoff game on November 7--the first playoff game for the school in 25 years.

Banda told ABC 15, "They thought I was saying I was number one and I was taunting the other team." The problem is Banda wasn't taunting the other team, he was thanking God. He went on to say "Excessive celebration is when you use the ball as a prop or you do something to the other team or put on a show with your teammates. I just thank God for all the power he’s given me to play the game.”

Dysart High School Athletic Director Tyrus Timbrooks told ABC that Banda was ejected because the incident was the second offense of the night. Timbrooks added that Banda was flagged by a referee earlier in the game after an aggressive argument with a player from the opposing team.

Although, after reviewing the tape, Timbrooks said Banda should not have been flagged for the pointing-to-the-sky motion, adding that the praising God motion was something Banda usually did after scoring a touchdown.

The athletic director has since filed an appeal with the Arizona Interscholastic Association. The Arizona Interscholastic Association said it was reviewing the incident.

Photo: Youtube

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