Coach fired for supporting oversized athlete - Dallas News |

Coach fired for supporting oversized athlete

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Earlier this week a 12-year-old football player was told he was too big to play and now his coach is being sacked too.

Elijah Earnheart is a 6 foot 1 inch and 297 pound seventh grader. He was hoping to get some football experience with the Vikings, but the Mesquite Pee Wee Football Association said he could not because of a weight limit.

Earnheart's story went viral, prompting offers from other local coaches and leagues and even an offer from a man in San Diego. George Whitfield with Whitfield Athletix offered to work with him for a few days and introduce him to some of the coaches at the Chargers facility.

Then Thursday night Vikings' coach Marc Wright was told he couldn't be on the field either. Wright said the team president let him go over the firestorm, saying he was out of line.

"It makes me feel bad because I call myself supporting one of my players," Wright said. "The same guy who let me go told me this is what you are supposed to do as head coach. You are supposed to support every single one of your players."

Earnheart's number one fan is his mother Cindy. She said she's overwhelmed by all the attention her son's story has gotten.

"We just got a call from The Steve Harvey Show," she said.

But she said she's still angry that her son cannot play in Mesquite and that his coach was fired.

"I'm angry. Marc Wright has 12 other boys out there on that field that's counting on him," she said.

She does not believe the rule preventing her son from playing is very clear.

"Our rules are clear. It says right there in black and white if you're in seventh or eighth grade or 11 or 12 years old in seventh or eight grade and your weight is over 135 you cannot participate in our league," argued Ronnie Henderson, president of the Mesquite Pee Wee Football Association.

Henderson has been hit by a negative email blitz.

"Said they don't see how I live with myself, how I'm doing it, how I sleep at night," he said.

Earnheart could play football in his school league, but since he's never played before he thought he should get some experience first.

Shunte Nettles coaches the North Texas Richardson Rams. He is one of the many coaches that have offered to help Earnheart learn the game.

"Football is about learning and growing and discipline and every kid needs to have that whether they are big or small," he said.

But Earnheart would still rather be a Viking. He had practiced with them for weeks, had already purchased a jersey and has friends on the team.

"What I'm fighting for is to play on my team that I want to play for," he said.


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