Homeless D.C.High School Football Player Kept Off Field Amid Questions Over Eligibility

By Samatha Pell

Jamal Speaks put on his pads, grabbed his helmet and got dressed in his new gray Ballou High jersey on Saturday, readying himself for his first game in nearly two years. The 18-year-old student at Ballou STAY Opportunity Academy — an alternative school on Ballou’s campus that allows students to get their high school diplomas — was anticipating showing coaches from Temple University what he could do.

But just as Speaks was about to step onto the field for the Knights, Principal Willie Jackson said he was not allowed to play. The reason? Questions over Speaks’s residency. The complication? Speaks doesn’t have a residence.

The denial caused an immediate uproar among students, coaches and fans. Ballou players refused to take the field for 45 minutes in protest. Several people said Jackson threatened to fire Coach Minoso Rodgers if he allowed Speaks to play.

Source: Washington Post

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