Pink gloved middle schooler returns to youth team, colorful gloves intact

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

The entire incident might be a candidate for quickest flip flop in reaction to public outlash in recent history. Just hours after the tale of youth football player Julian Connerton's touching tribute to his mother hit national airwaves, the entire reason why it became a sensation evaporated: the decision to ban Connerton from playing with pink gloves was unilaterally overturned by his youth football coach.

New Jersey middle schooler Julian Connerton shows his infamous pink gloves — ABC News/Danny Drake/Press of Atlantic City
New Jersey middle schooler Julian Connerton shows his infamous pink gloves — ABC News/Danny Drake/Press of Atlantic City

As reported by the Press of Atlantic City, the Egg Harbor City, N.J., 12-year-old returned to the Egg Harbor City Crusaders seventh and eighth-grade football team on Wednesday, taking part in the team's annual photo and officially signing back up for the rest of the season.

Unlike Saturday, when Connerton famously walked away from the program because he was told he couldn't wear pink gloves to honor his mother's ongoing battle against breast cancer, the seventh-grader was specifically told he could wear the pink gloves for the remainder of the season when he returned.

In fact, Connerton's coach, 26-year-old Paul Burgan, said the entire incident was a simple misunderstanding that was caused by the coach's own forgetfulness; Burgan said that if he had remembered why Connerton wanted to wear the pink gloves, he never would have opposed them.

"He did something 100 percent right. He stood up for his mother. That's what you want every kid to do," Burgan told the Press. "In the end you don't want to hurt any one of the kids' feelings. At the time I didn't know I hurt his feelings. I feel bad. You don't want this to happen to anyone's mother."

Connerton said shortly after the Tuesday evening meeting that he was relieved that the incident was over and was excited to return to the football field and put all the attention and controversy behind him.

"I feel better. Everything is gone. My throat and stomach is clear. Everything," Connerton told the Press. "I just want to play football again. I miss it.

"I just wanted to support my mom -- not just her but everyone with breast cancer."

Connerton certainly earned plenty of media attention for his mother and thousands of cancer sufferers just like her. While that focus may not have come in the way he expected, the middle schooler can still rest assured that he has helped spread his cause, all because of one pair of pink gloves.

Want more on the best stories in high school sports? Visit RivalsHigh or connect with Prep Rally on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

What to Read Next