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Menino Invites Cathedral High Football Team To Lunch After Controversial Loss

BOSTON (CBS) – Mayor Tom Menino met with the Cathedral High School football team Wednesday and offered to host a celebratory lunch with the team after a controversial Super Bowl loss over the weekend.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports.

“I wanna show them that there’s some people out there who really care about them and who think that they’re real champions on the field and off the field,” Menino said.

The Cathedral High team was on its way to its first Super Bowl title with quarterback Matthew Owens running for a long touchdown in the final minutes of the game.

Watch: The Play

He raised his left arm briefly before crossing the goal line, and according to a referee, that was was a violation of a excessive-celebration rule.

The touchdown did not count, and the ball was brought back to the 24-yard line. Moments later, Owens threw an interception and Cathedral ended up losing 16-14 to the Blue Hills Warriors.

“Anything that brings attention to the individual is something that the rules committee has told us, high school and college level, that is going to be penalized. They’re gonna take the individual out of the game and put it back to being a team game, which is what it is,” said Bill Stewart, a local coach and referee who was not involved with the game.

“That was totally ridiculous,” said Menino. “Go look at the pros. Go look at what they do. Go look at what the college kids do, and all of a sudden we in Massachusetts say, ‘Oh no, you can’t raise your hand in jubilation at what you’ve done.’ That’s unfortunate.”

WBZ-TV’s Sera Congi reports.

Several people have emerged condemning the referee’s call, including Mayor Menino, who said he feels the call sends the wrong message to the kids, and he wants to send the right message.

“This is, once again, some guys who probably put the rules together and never have played sports in their lives but are using the MIAA as a tool for their frustrations because they weren’t good athletes,” said Menino.

The mayor said he feels the players are winners and plans to invite them to a victory lunch, with the date and time to be determined.

“I don’t think anything will ever take the sting away from what happened,” said Duane Sigsbury, the coach. “(But Menino’s gesture) is very important to our kids. The majority of our students come from Boston.”

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the MIAA defended the referee’s decision and said there is no provision that allows an official’s call to be overturned after the final whistle of the game.

The MIAA also suggested that this could be a teaching moment for the students:

Athletes must learn to put these things behind them and move forward.  During their lifetime they will experience similar situations where they feel “wronged” by a superior or authority figure and they must learn to deal with that situation.”


One Comment

  1. gramps says:

    Menino makes a statement about a Ref’s call in a ‘High School’ football game…Yet Mum’s(bles) the word on the on the ‘judgement’ call made by ‘His’ School Department management team, regarding a little 1st graderwho was attacked in ‘Southie’.

    “‘Gutless’….’no balls’ management”


    1. gramps says:

      Mr. Mayor,

      How can you look yourself in the mirror every morning & justify commenting (sticking your nose into) on a ‘judgement call’ made @ a high school football game ‘REF’ ……..Yet be “TOTALLY SILENT ABOUT THE HANDLING OF A THREAT OF A ‘SEXUAL HARASSMENT’ CHARGE AGAINST A 1ST GRADER BY YOUR SCHOOL DEPT. ADMINSTRATION”……?

      A story that went ‘NATION WIDE’!

      Again, we don’t want to know about the ‘kids’, we would like your statement regarding “YOUR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS”

      Will you back their decision like the ‘MIAA’ backed their ‘Ref’?


    2. gramps/abby says:

      Mr. Mayor,,,,,,

      How can you look yourself in the mirror every morning & justify commenting (sticking your nose into) on a ‘judgement call’ made @ a high school football game ‘REF’ ……..Yet be “TOTALLY SILENT ABOUT THE HANDLING OF A THREAT OF A ‘SEXUAL HARASSMENT’ CHARGE AGAINST A 1ST GRADER BY YOUR SCHOOL DEPT. ADMINSTRATION”……?

      A story that went ‘NATION WIDE’!

      Again, we don’t want to know about the ‘kids’, we would like your statement regarding “YOUR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS”

      Will you back their decision like the ‘MIAA’ backed their ‘Ref’?


  2. The Mayor says:

    Each member of the Cathedral High football team WILL get a “I was screwed out of the Super Bowl and all I got was a lousy lunch’ t-shirt from me…

  3. Jean Evans says:

    Although I feel bad for the Cthedral team,what about the Blue Hills Warriors who had a stellar year and actually won the game!!!!!!! Maybe both teams should have been invited to “the lunch”. This controversy is also taking away from what should be a great time for Blue Hills oustanding team.

    1. blackbear1 says:

      Good comments Jean. I completely agree.

      1. Donny says:

        File this under, Mayor Mayor Menino Makes Bad Situation Worse.

    2. WesWelkerFan says:

      You’re fogeting, Cathedral is a BOSTON school and Blue Hills Tech IS NOT. It’s Mr Mayor’s opinion that a BOSTON school got gipped. If the call had been against Blue Hills, he wouldn’t be saying a word about it. I agree Cathedral was gipped and it’s unfortunet when refs deside the outcome of games, but for the Mayor of Boston to whine because it was a BOSTON school that was penalized, is just rediculous!

    3. Mikey Cyrus says:

      Thank the ref for Blue Hills getting overlooked too

    4. Bryan J says:

      Everyone HATES a sore winner. It is possible to take home a trophy and still lose by being arrogant, self-entitled jerks. (That is also a life lesson to be learned.)

  4. blackbear1 says:

    Mr. Mayor, please stay out of this. It is not necessary for you to micro-manage
    everything. Yes, this was a tough call, but it stands. Perhaps the MIAA will be reviewing the rule. Let those in charge of this matter decide. Make sure you don’t send the wrong message!!

  5. Adam says:

    No need to reward the undeserving “champions” any further. Good job, Mumbles.

  6. Nancy Bird says:

    Mayor Menino is overshadowing the victory of the Blue Hills Warriors. We do not know who would have won the game, but the call was made(right or wrong). and if you’re going to have a celebratory lunch at least both teams should be invited. He is taking away from Blue Hills achievement. Go Warriors! We are proud of you!

    1. tsal says:

      Nancy – what should happen if you want to be proud of Blue Hills is for them to acknowledge the call was bogus. What has that team learned? Win at all costs – whether you deserve it?

  7. Adam says:

    Nancy, thanks to math we do know who would have won the game and it wasn’t Blue Hills. They benefited from a weak willed referee who wouldn’t let reason and common sense play a role in his ruling (typical of society today).

    1. waldo says:

      So very true, Adam!

  8. Matt says:

    Sorry Menino but you are wrong on this one and here is the evidence. You said “Go look at what the college kids do”. If you did do that then you would have know that LSU had a touch down called back whene their punter scored on a fake punt. When he was running in for the score he did a little celebrating before he got in and just as in this case he was flagged and the td was called back. Then only difference is that in that game they went on to win unlike in this case. No matter what you think, the rules is the rules. But don’t say that Cathedral High School won when they did not. Congratulations to Blue Hills.

    1. tsal says:

      Matt – although I feel the call was ridiculous, the LSU player turned to the other team players and held his arms wide in what could be construed as a taunt. Please explain where the Cathedral Player was taunting in any way. He was celebrating a run – not even a TD because he was just past the 20 – and anyone who wants to construe this as a taunt is IMHO not seeing what happened.

      1. Matt says:

        Does not matter. Goes under the blanket statement of unsportsman like conduct. If he had waited until he had scored for his celebration then the td would have counted and it would have been a dead ball foul. I do agree that the call was lame but it was the right call. I bet he won’t make that same mistake again.

      2. tsal says:

        If the rule is for taunting where can you interpret what he did as taunting? I can see how the LSU call was considered taunting. Where is the taunting in this case?

        If that’s the case, if a QB raises his hand in a fist pump when a pass is completed, is that taunting? The rule itself is open for misinterpretation and too much leeway for the refs to interpret unfairly.

  9. matt souza says:

    The team one because of a stupid penalty they did not deserve to win the game at all. they got really lucky. The other team should have won plain in simple. the ref was being stupid and i think he wanted them to loose because no other ref through the flag.

  10. tsal says:

    The rule is excessive celebration. First, has anyone seen Gronkowski’s celebration after a TD? They talk about it all of the time. He is never penalized and it is NOT excessive. The player who scored a TD a while ago and then pretended to shoot himself in the leg and then be a plane that crashed making fun of another player WAS excessive.

    That being said, what was he celebrating? He hadn’t made a TD. How do you call it excessive celebration when the TD hadn’t even been scored.

    To make this political is disturbing to say the least. Will someone point me to the time a team in any sport was penalized by having a TD taken away for celebration.

    Please do not say the other teams victor is being diminished. It did not earn its victory. In the spirit of sportsmanship – that team should be supporting the fact that it was a more than bad call.

  11. Football fan says:

    I think the ref’s call was wrong and a serious misinterpretation of the rule as the player’s actions were not “excessive” by any definition of the term. I hope the MIAA takes appropriate action. While one cannot presume to know what the outcome would have been in the absence of this call, all of the players deserve fair officiating by the referees. It’s a shame that a championship game was tainted by a poor call.

    1. tsal says:

      Nicely said football fan

    2. LLoyd Bridges says:

      Asking a kid not to feel the JOY of scoring is just plain dumb. Why play the game if you can not express yourself when you succeed? We worry too much about how the other kid feels. Well maybe he can learn to feel good and do something exceptional by emulating the accomplishments of others.

  12. tsal says:

    I did a bit of looking into this – thanks to Matt’s comment about LSU and found I was wrong that the rule is excessive celebration. There is a new rule this year that penalizes teams for taunting on the way to scoring a touchdown. Not only do they receive a 15-yard penalty, but their touchdown is taken off the board. The taunting has to be egregious.

    Please tell me where this can in any way be considered egregious.

    Those who opposed the rule felt it gave refs too much ability to determine the outcome of the game. And so it seems their objection has been realized.

      1. tsal says:

        Matt :)

        I still do not agree because it was not an egregious taunt.

    1. gamps says:

      tsal, don’t you have some cookies to bake?

      I’m not going to take any my time to point out how far in ‘left field you are!

      This blog has a treasure trove of typical ‘Helicopter Parent’s’ hovering over their ‘special’ 16/18 year old ‘INFANTS’!…..

      How long will the ‘lil’darlings be on ‘Mothers Milk’?!!!


  13. FireGuyFrank says:

    Sorry, but special lunches are reserved for champions, not runners-up. If the MIAA announces the wrong call was made and changes the outcome, then Cathedral can have lunch on Boston taxpayers.

  14. mike d says:

    read the Damm rule there was NO violation . it is very descriptive the details prove NO violation . It is all in the view of the ref and he was WrONG !

  15. Denise says:

    Well sports are going to become very interesting if you’re going to get a penalty when you do: Anything that brings attention to the individual is something that the rules committee has told us, high school and college level, that is going to be penalized. – just getting the ball in some sports “brings attention to the individual holding it”. Who can relax and enjoy the game for fear of their animation (smile, pat on the back, fist bump, stick raising, atta boy or girl etc) is going to get their “score” taken back.

    When I was in school – we had a girl turn around and deck one of the people on the other team because she was all over her, taunting her and tourmenting her during the game. I think she got a 1 game suspension – today she would be expelled. But kids/people had a respect for one another then – today… not so much! Glad I’m on the down side of the mountain!

  16. response says:

    In this pc world, shouldn’t the mayor invite all the football players that lost in big games this year to lunch?
    I’m sure there are losers out there that want to have lunch with the mayor?

    1. Tsal says:

      Those that lose because of a bad call

      1. gramps says:

        This blog has a treasure trove of typical ‘Helicopter Parent’s’ hovering over their ‘special’ 16/18 year old ‘INFANTS’!…..

        How long will the ‘lil’darlings be on ‘Mothers Milk’?!!!


  17. Jeff Becker says:

    I love when someone in an organization makes a terrible error and then the organization comes out and pontificates that this is a “teachable moment” or in “life we must let go and move on” instead of saying “the ref made an aweful call and they are sorry” or “the call might have been technically correct, however in the spirit and importance of the game the quarterback who raises his arm momentarily did not rise to the level of a flag” or what they should have said was ‘This call was so terrible the entire officiating crew will never officiate at the high school level again”. The AD from the winning team is a tool! He should have come out and said the call was not justified, then he would have become the person of reason and have been applauded for his comments, in stead of what this jerk said!

  18. Mike G says:

    Rules are rules. The same thing happened this year to LSU. Deal with it.

    1. tsal says:

      Mike G – the rule calls for egregious taunting. Please tell me where you see that? LSU is questionable. The player turned to the other team as he ran and opened his arms in what seemed as if it were a taunt to “try and get me”

  19. John Chinn says:

    Taking the individual out of the game.? How do you do that and still have a team. More Political Correctness run wild. Teaching the players of Cathedral a Lesson ? Really ? So no I see Mass Football Teams can expect to have , say, all their sores taken away , since per the Miaa, this teaches a Lesson/

    Indeed it does. MIAA like he NCAA should be abolished.

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