At just 12 years old, Elijah Earnheart weighs 297 pounds, and stands at 6-feet-1 inches tall. His weight exceeds the Mesquite, TX’s Pee Wee Football Association weight limit of 135 pounds for seventh-graders. Last Sunday, at the league’s official weigh-in, Earnheart was turned away from the scale and therefore the team by the president of the peewee football association, Ronnie Henderson, because he predicted that Earnheart’s weight would not make the cut, ABC News reports.
Elijah is a self-described “gentle giant” and aspires to play professional football. His mother, Cindy Earnheart, is speaking out against the association and calling them discriminatory. “They would not even let him weigh in on the scales like every single boy out there,” she said. “He might be the size of a grown man but he's 12 years old and he has feelings, too."
Henderson is concerned about the safety of the other pee wee football players. "We've got little boys that play against him that are 85, 95 and 100 pounds," Henderson said. "We have to look out for all the kids, not just him." Three other players were also turned away.
Before the weigh-in, Elijah had already spent three weeks practicing with the team and special-ordered a helmet, shoulder pads, pants and jersey to accommodate his size. The team’s coach, Marc Wright, said that there was an exception to the weight rule that would allow children who weigh more than 135 pounds to play on the offensive or defensive line only. However, Henderson contends that this exception only applies to sixth-graders, who are allowed to weigh up to 160 pounds.
Elijah’s mother disagrees with the league’s rules. "Isn't bigger better in football? Football is a contact sport. If you don't want your son tackled, get him off the field."
Does Elijah deserve to make the team? Would you allow your child to play football against a child the size of an adult? Leave a comment.