Elijah Earnheart, 12, has been banned from a Pee Wee football league in Mesquite, Tex. The president of the league said that, at 6-foot-1 and 297 pounds, Earnheart is ineligible to play on account of his size, Fox 4 in Dallas reports.
Even though he had practiced for the Mesquite Vikings for three weeks, the league dismissed him at a Sunday weigh-in. His mother told Fox 4 that her son came home and cried.
"I just want to play because most of my teammates are my friends," the 12-year-old said in the news segment.
His mother, Cindy Earnheart, has tackled the matter by jumping into protest mode. She wrote "Let Elijah Play" on signs and T-shirts. "I'm not going to let him give up," she told Fox 4.
If Earnheart wants to pursue football in the future, he's going to have to do it in a school league or another league in the town that can accommodate his size and power, Ronnie Henderson, president of Mesquite Pee Wee Football Association, told the New York Daily News, adding that the weight limit for seventh graders is 135 pounds. Livestrong.com notes that the average weight for boys at that age is 89 pounds.
"We are looking out for the smaller kids as well as the bigger kids. We want to make sure there is a safe place to play for everyone," Henderson added.
But the team's coach, Marc Wright, is on the boy's side. He told Fox 4 that many kids who exceed the weight limit are allowed to play. They just have to wear an "X" on their helmet and are limited to playing either defensive or offensive line.
Henderson countered that the "X-man exemption" applies only to elementary school students.
Earnheart's mother insists that he should be allowed to play regardless of his size. "This is his dream. This is what he wants to do and I'm going to make it happen," she said.