And Tim Tebow always thought he was a good role model.
A group of Riverhead High School students are receiving national attention after they were suspended for emulating the Denver Broncos quarterback in the high school’s hallway this week.
Brothers Tyler and Connor Carroll, and their friends Jordan Fulcoly and Wayne Drexel were all given one day of in-school suspension Wednesday after three days of getting on one knee and bringing their fists to their forehead like Mr. Tebow’s signature move.
Mr. Tebow, who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week after leading the Broncos to victory for the sixth week in a row Sunday night, has long gained notoriety for his outspokenness with respect to his Christian beliefs. Hundreds of videos have popped up over the internet of kids imitating the former Heisman Trophy winner and his touchdown celebration, which he says is his way of paying thanks to God.
“We’ve been doing it all week,” said Tyler Carroll of Calverton. “We started on Monday. We saw Tebow doing it and thought it would be funny. More people saw and started to join in. It was really catching fire.”
Yahoo news broke the story earlier today and the teens have since been interviewed by Fox news, News12 and Newsday.
Administrators told the boys they had influenced other students to perform the action and it was creating a disturbance in class.
Riverhead superintendent Nancy Carney said the students were suspended after failing to heed warning from district officials that they were making the halls unsafe.
“It’s wonderful that our students look up to sports heroes such as Mr. Tebow, but we can’t allow students to create unsafe situations in school,” Ms. Carney said in an email. “Students cannot block hallways and prevent other students from getting to class.”
But Tyler insisted he and his friends were not warned, and he didn’t think it was a fair punishment. And although about 20 kids were joining them by Wednesday, the four were the only ones who were suspended.
“The act was harmless,” said Tyler, who along with Connor and Wayne is on the Blue Waves’ varsity football team. “Our intent was not to block the halls.”
Tyler and Connor are also baseball players while Jordan is on the soccer team.
And as for all the attention they have received after Connor contacted Yahoo news, the boys say they don’t mind.
“Honestly it’s pretty cool,” Tyler said. “We’re not afraid of the spotlight.”