After days of torment following a decision that kept him off the field for a game, a Ballou (D.C.) football player and Temple football recruit is being allowed back on his team, despite lingering residency issues.
As reported by our D.C. TEGNA partners WUSA, Jamal Speaks is being allowed to return to practice with the Ballou football program following a controversial decision to hold him out because he is staying in the D.C. area without a home residence.
Speaks began his football career at Ballou as a freshman but was later kicked out of the school because his now-estranged mother was living in Maryland. That’s still the case despite his return to Ballou, which inspired the school’s principal to keep him out of the Ballou’s most recent game, last Saturday.
That decision was apparently a purely unilateral one, as Speaks’ residency status as a stay-student had already been approved by the D.C. Public Schools system. Still, the senior was forced to sit out a game in front of college scouts.
Now he’s back and ready to make an impact. The teen practiced Wednesday night with the Ballou team and is now receiving support through a GoFundMe account established by the team, with a D.C. Council member also attempting to help him secure an apartment.
“I just want to thank God that I’m here and I’m back,” Speaks told WUSA. “Without my team I probably wouldn’t be here right now.
“(Have to) Stay focused, keep God first and just dominate from here on out.”
He can rest assured that his coach and teammates are behind him, no matter what happens from here.
“It’s definitely taking a village to raise this young man, but this shows if you do the right thing, keep being persistence and try to be a good person than good things happen for you,” said Ballou Coach Minoso Rodgers.