Thousands of young football players in North Carolina want to be just like Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, but celebrating like Newton got one North Carolina high school quarterback kicked out of a game.
West Mecklenburg High School quarterback Jalan McClendon was ejected from a state playoff game on Friday for doing the “Superman” touchdown celebration that Newton does when he scored. And McClendon would have been suspended for two additional games if the referee had called the celebration a form of taunting. Fortunately, the ref said it was an unsportsmanlike act but not taunting, which means he gets an ejection but not a suspension.
McClendon’s coach, Jeff Caldwell, told the Charlotte Observer that McClendon is a good young man who was just excited that he scored a touchdown in a playoff game.
“It’s a good learning experience for him,” Caldwell said of McClendon. “With him being in the position he’s in, he should know better. He’s a young kid. My kids have never been in a situation like this before. I’m just happy for Jalan and that it came out all right. I’m glad he wasn’t severely punished for something where he was just having fun. He’s not the taunting type.”
Promoting sportsmanship is important at the high school level, but if all McClendon did was the Newton Superman pose, an ejection seems rather severe. But just to be safe, if McClendon scores again this week, he’d be wise to ditch the Cam Newton impression and imitate Barry Sanders instead.