Family wants controversial football call reviewed

Posted at 11:33 PM, Dec 03, 2014
and last updated 2015-11-28 23:33:52-05

Canisius High School Senior James Thomas was ejected from last week's game for throwing a punch, but his family and attorney say video of the play shows he never actually threw one.

In the game against Timon, Thomas' father admits his son broke the rule by grabbing an opponent's facemask, but he says his son never threw a punch, and that other coaches who have watched the video agree with him.

"It's unanimous that there was no punch thrown by my son," said James Cunningham.

Canisius High School is standing by the player. In an interview, Athletic Director James Mauro said, "If you showed them the play that he was ejected for, my guess is a college coach is going say that kind of play happens a lot in football. And this officiating crew happened to view it as enough for a personal foul and an ejection."

Since the video of the play came out, the league changed the call - saying Thomas didn't throw a punch, but did commit "flagrant misconduct" on the play.

Still, Thomas missed the rest of the Timon game and is also banned from the State Championship Game Sunday. His father worries that even if potential college coaches understand it could have been a bad call, now they won't get to see him on the field.

"It's how a player reacts in big games," he explained. "And this is the biggest stage in high school, and he is now ineligible. Based on a punch he never did."