South Florida lacrosse player remains suspended over ‘unsportsmanlike’ conduct

MIAMI (WSVN) - A South Florida high school lacrosse player will remain suspended after officials ruled that his play was “unsportsmanlike,” but the player has hired an attorney to fight the punishment.

The Florida High School Athletic Association’s board of directors decided that Luther Johnson V will remain suspended from all sports until the 10th game of the 2020 lacrosse season, Monday, for making some rough hits.

Attorney Rawsi Williams, who represents Johnson, said the ruling felt like another punishment.

“We believe they punished him all over again,” Williams said.

The hearing comes after Johnson, a senior at Christopher Columbus High School, was banned from high-school athletics after two earlier suspensions for hits that referees called unsportsmanlike.

His family disagreed and appealed the decision.

“The fact that a player gets hurt does not mean that the other player had malice or made an egregious play,” Williams said.

The FHSAA upheld the senior’s suspension on the third motion.

“He immediately dropped his whole body down. He was in the chair and started crying,” Williams said.

Johnson’s family said two independent lacrosse coaches reviewed the game footage and came to the same conclusion.

“Not one coach who reviewed that agreed to a year ban,or even a few games,” Williams said. “They were saying these are in-game penalties.”

Luther Johnson, the senior’s father, said his son played by the rules.

“He did what he was trained to do,” he said. “Now, all of a sudden, you’re telling him he’s wrong, and that’s not good.”

Johnson noted that his son holds a 4.0 GPA and had several letters of interest from Ivy-League schools. Now, the suspension threatens his son’s bright future.

“They can stop him in sports, but they can’t stop him in the classroom,” Johnson said. “He’s doing what he’s supposed to do.”

Johnson’s family said they’re still not happy and said they will continue to fight the decision.

The next possible meeting could be an injunction, but the family said they have yet to make that decision.

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