What advantage could an headband have made for the third place winner of the Georgia 5A cross-country finals, especially since it did not break any rules within the official rule book? John Green, a high school runner from West Forsyth, respectfully complied with the decision that he needed to turn his headband outside in, if he was to compete in the cross country state finals. The headband had this verse embroidered on it,
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31).
Though the Georgia High School Association claims the verse had nothing to do with the disqualification, no other explanation make sense.
The Georgia High School Association has no rule regarding headbands, but it does allow race officials to make up rules not covered in the rule book. On Saturday, John’s headband was a considered “uniform violation,” according to the Forsyth County News.
Griffith isn’t buying the GHSA’s explanation, though. He stated: “If John did not break a rule, he cannot be disqualified from the race and his individual result and our appropriate team placing must be reinstated.”
This opinion of religious persecution is also shared by John Green's congressman.
Republican Rep. Douglas Collins, also thinks that John was disqualified from his third place finish for religious reasons.
He tweeted,”Religious expression being squashed here right in the Ninth District. This is outrageous.”
Green's race results should be reinstated because it was his athletic ability and determination that won him the race, not his headband! The headband did not “trip” anyone else up, except the official who obviously has person issues he needs to work out. Hopefully public pressure will reverse this bad decision.
Source: Western Journalism