South Florida

South Florida Lacrosse Player Fights Suspension From Field

Luther Johnson V, or LJV, has been playing sports for as long as he can remember -- he's even caught the eye of Ivy League schools not only for athletics, but for academics as well.

Luther's mother, Antonette Johnson, said her son keeps a 4.0 GPA and has never been disciplined on or off the field -- until recently.

"For me to not step on the field with my brothers every day, it hurts me every day," the Christopher Columbus High School student said.

The Florida High School Athletics Association suspended Luther twice for what coaches and referees called "unsportsmanlike" behavior on the field.

He was suspended for five weeks after a game against Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and on the first day back from that suspension, he was ejected again for a play against Belen Jesuit Prepatory.

The FHSAA penalized the second offense. He had his entire senior year off the field in all sports -- a punishment his parents think is so steep, they've even hired an attorney.

"We are saying don't take away from them everything they've worked for over one or two plays he's not a problem kid, he's just a kid," attorney Rawsi Williams said.

A high-ranking athletics official told NBC 6 that this case is not unprecedented and that the FHSAA has done this before. And another veteran lacrosse official who reviewed the play says he believes the penalty was correctly adjudicated.

Luther, who was alongside his parents and attorney at an interview Friday, said he is remorseful for the plays.

On Monday, the FHSAA will decide whether they will uphold his one-year punishment. His family and their attorney hope his years of hard work and his bright future don't go to waste.

"Numerically it's one year -- for him, it's a lifetime, because next year is his senior year," Williams said.

A petition has been created on Luther's behalf, and he's already achieved the goal of over 2,500 signatures.

Contact Us