High School Quarterback Penalized for Thanking God

A high school football game.
A high school football game. A quarterback in New York was penalized for praising God after a touchdown. (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Mexico High School quarterback Dante Turo was raised by his parents to give glory to God—especially on the football field.

"When you score touchdowns, when you make big plays, it's easy to become proud," Geno, his dad, told me. "It's easy to take credit for yourself. I didn't want my son to get caught up in that."

Geno, who lives in a small town north of Syracuse, New York, encouraged his son to find a subtle way to praise the Lord after making big plays.

"He wanted to do something at that moment to take credit away from himself and give glory to God," Geno said. "God gives us the ability and the talent. As Christians, we want to be sure to give that back immediately."

So on Oct. 17 when Dante ran 73 yards for a touchdown, the 17-year-old quarterback raised a single finger to the sky.

Dante was honoring the Lord. But a referee said he was taunting.

Video shows the quarterback running into the end zone and briefly raising his finger before tossing the pigskin to the referee.

As soon as he raised his finger, the ref tossed a flag. He was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct—excessive celebration.

"I talked to the referee and told him I wasn't trying to do anything malicious or arrogant—I was just trying to give praise to God," Dante told me. "He told me, 'Don't do it again.'"

Dante wasn't the only one to address the issue.

"I tried to explain to the referee that threw the flag and the head referee, but they just said, it's taunting," head coach Tee Murabito told me. "I told them he was praising God. How is that taunting?"

Coach Murabito told me Dante is a good kid and God is a "very big part of his life."

A website that covers high school sports in the Syracuse region tried reaching out to the Mohawk Valley Chapter of Certified Football Officials. No comment, they replied via email.

"It has been a longstanding policy that the Mohawk Valley Chapter of Certified Football Officials does not address the media pertaining to penalty calls or any other actions made during a football game," they wrote to the website: highschoolsports.syracuse.com.

Geno told me that he's proud of his son.

"He's brave," he said. "I brought him up to be fearless in the face of opposition."

Granted, it's just a football game—but what happened in New York over the weekend is an example of something that's happening across the country.

Christians are being told to keep their beliefs to themselves.

"It troubles me," Geno said. "I think people have forgotten that we settled in this land to flee religious persecution. We're supposed to have religious freedom here. But it seems like instead of religious freedom we are being persecuted for our beliefs."

Dante will be back on the football field Friday night. And should he be fortunate enough to score a touchdown, the young 17-year-old told me he will honor God.

"Without a doubt I will raise my finger," he told me.

Without a doubt. No matter the cost.

Dante Turo is indeed fearless in the face of opposition.

Todd Starnes is host of "Fox News & Commentary," heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is The Deplorables' Guide to Making America Great Again.


To contact us or to submit an article, click here.


Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.

Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!

  • Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
  • Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
  • God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
  • Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
  • HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!

Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for Only $24.97 and get a free gift. With your subscription, you'll receive Born For Significance by best-selling author Bill Johnson. View Offer

Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details

Charisma News - Informing believers with news from a Spirit-filled perspective