Point to heavens means penalty for Tumwater running back
Source: KOMO — Tumwater beat East Valley 63-27 on Monday night at the Tacoma Dome during the 2A state semifinal game, but a post-touchdown penalty call was a big surprise for the player responsible.
In the second quarter of the game, Tumwater running back Ronnie Hastie scored on a 23-yard run, took a knee in the end zone and briefly pointed to the heavens above.
For that the referee threw a flag, saying it was unsportsmanlike conduct.
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. “It’s something I’ve done as a tradition.”
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. “I do that to give glory to my heavenly father, Jesus. He gives me the strength. He’s the one who gives me these abilities in the first place.”
Hastie’s father said his son points skyward in an effort to recognize something more important, actually trying to draw attention away from himself.
Mike Colbrese, executive director of Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, said he has reviewed the video, but hasn’t been told the circumstances behind the call by the referees’ association.
Colbrese did add, however, that a rule requires a player to give up the ball immediately after the play, and Hastie failed to do so.
“The point is to make sure the game goes on, that something that happens after a score or after a spectacular play or whatever doesn’t slow down play itself,” he 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.”
Tumwater will face Archbishop Murphy in the final on Saturday afternoon.