A Georgia runner who came in third in a recent race but was then disqualified over a headband he wore that displayed a biblical verse has now received the backing of his school, his coach, his classmates, his congressman and a nation of outraged Christians.
“We stand behind our coach and runner,” said Forsyth County Schools in a statement reported by Fox News.
As reported by WND, John Green, a senior at Georgia’s West Forsyth High School, crossed the finish line third in a field of 226, wearing his signature headband with the biblical reference to Isaiah 40:30-31. That verse states: “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.”
Green and his coach double checked before the race with two officials that it was okay to wear the headband – a headband that he’s worn for past races with no problems. The two officials suggested he turn it inside out, which he did, and then a third – who was not in uniform – muttered something unintelligible and walked away.
Fox News’ update to the story indicated Green was actually told by a another referee to take off the headband just moments before the race was due to start. But Green’s hair is long and his coaches worried the wind would cause it to fly in his eyes and impair his vision, so they told him to abide the direction of the previous referee, who had given the all-clear to wear the gear.
“The Death of Free Speech: How Our Broken National Dialogue Has Killed the Truth and Divided America” examines how the news media has created arbitrary, biased and illogical rules for determining what can and cannot be said in the public arena.
But once Green crossed the finish line, he was disqualified.
Turns out, the rule book used for the race – the Georgia High School Association manual – makes no mention of headbands. But it does include a rule that lets referees simply make up regulations that aren’t mentioned in the book, Fox News said.
At the same time, referees still can’t selectively enforce their rules, even the made-up ones, and in that regard, other runners wore headbands during the race without controversy or disqualification. In fact, the finish line photograph shows other runners, including the eventual winner, decked in headbands.
Green’s school petitioned the GHSA to reinstate his win, but the body refused. The school district also praised Green and his coach, Clayton Tillery, saying the latter was a ‘successful veteran coach with high moral and ethical standards,” Fox News reported.
WND’s acclaimed Whistleblower magazine shows in its powerfully moving April issue, “PERSECUTION RISING,” how today’s treatment of Christians in many nations is disturbingly reminiscent of the brutal persecution of the early followers of Christ.
And Green’s classmates, not to mention Christians around the nation, have flocked to his side to show support, rallying around their call for fairness via a #FreeTheFro handle on Twitter.
Green’s father said to media he wasn’t sure if the headband was the real reason behind his son’s disqualification. But others are seeing religious discrimination, pure and simple.
One of Georgia’s congressman, Douglas Collins, for example, tweeted this: “Religious expression being squashed right here in the Ninth District. This is outrageous.”