School District Explains Its Side, But Many Say Ban Was Over-Reaction

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One of two brothers suspended for paying tribute to Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow served an in-school suspension Friday.

Mimicking kneeling down to pray — the trademark move has been dubbed “Tebowing” — is what got senior Connor Carroll and his twin brother, Tyler, in big trouble. Tebow is the fourth-quarter phenomenon who’s been wowing football fans all across the country with his talent.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On The Story

But some of Tebow’s teen followers are crying foul after they were busted for paying tribute to their favorite player.

If you follow the National Football League, you’ve heard of him.

Tebow has quickly become the biggest story in pro sports. His outward devotion to his faith and his late-game heroics have earned him a massive following.

But fanaticism might have gone too far recently in Riverhead on Long Island. A YouTube video shows several students at Riverhead High School getting down on one knee in the middle of a hallway as a tribute to Tebow. For those who don’t know, that’s Tebow’s signature move after a positive play.

Mimicking kneeling down to pray — the trademark move has been dubbed “Tebowing” — is what got senior Connor Carroll and his twin brother, Tyler, in big trouble.

Connor Carroll spoke to CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez by phone on Thursday night and then both brothers and their parents spoke to CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan and WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall on  Friday.

“This all started on Monday. Me, my brother and a couple of our friends decided we would Tebow in the hallway to show respect to Tim Tebow. We did it the one period. The next day, Tuesday, more people … they saw us doing it again, so they started doing it on their own. And Wednesday even more people started doing it,” Connor said.

He said he and his brother and two other students were called to the principal’s office, where the brothers were suspended for one day. Connor Carroll claims the school never warned him to stop the tribute. He said he thinks the punishment is unfair.

“The point is we shouldn’t be suspended for this. It’s a harmless act, just supporting a good guy,” Carroll said.

About 40 students participated in the largest act of “Tebowing” on Wednesday, but the twins were the only two suspended. Nancy Carney, school district superintendent, said the tribute had nothing to do with religion, which has been an issue surrounding all the attention Tebow receives, but posed a safety hazard by blocking others from getting to class.

“Two students, who were spoken to previously, did not heed to the warning given by administrators, and they were disciplined accordingly,” Carney said in a statement.

“My son told me they were never warned ‘stop’ … the school is saying they did warn them,” Ken Carroll, the boys’ father, told WCBS 880’s Hall. “My sons do admire Tim Tebow, not only for his football play, but because of his great faith,” Carroll added.

“In the video it does show a little bit of blocking. We have four minutes in between periods. It lasted 30 seconds to a minute and all of us who took part in the action of Tebowing … we all got to class on time,” Tyler Carroll told McLogan.

Conor Carroll said he has no regrets.

“We’re all Tebow fans. We like what he brings to the table. He’s a natural born leader,” he said.

But as it turned out, for Carroll and his brother, following the leader was not a winning move.

“The school, everyone should be happy they are following a good role model, not someone who’s in the news for bad things,” mother Sherry Carroll told McLogan.

Tyler Carroll will serve his suspension on Monday. The other students were let go with a warning.

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