Gesture to God Earns High School Running Back ‘Unsportsmanlike Conduct’ Penalty

It was a state semi-final game and there was a lot riding on 23-yard touchdown run by Tumwater High School’s running back Ronnie Hastie.  After he crossed into the end zone for his second quarter score, Hastie took a knee and briefly pointed to heaven above, thanking God.

It was this action which drew the attention of one referee and, subsequently, the referee’s yellow flag.  Hastie was surprised to learn that his momentary pause for prayer would earn him a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:

Hastie said he’s pointed up as a gesture to God after every touchdown he’s scored in every game and never had a problem before.

“It’s usually one or two seconds long,” he said.

Hastie said he asked the ref why he was penalized, and the ref responded that Hastie wasn’t supposed to draw attention to himself.

“That wasn’t the point (of the gesture), so I guess I was a little confused,” Hastie said.

Asked if he planned to point to the sky after future touchdowns, Hastie said he would not.

“I’ll just have to change it up and not make as big of a statement, I guess. The refs are in charge,” he said. “I’ll just point to the sky once I’m off the field.”