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Ohio school mad at 15-year-old for using 'Madden' phrase

In announcing a middle school football game, a 15-year-old describes one player in Gus Johnson's inimitable phrase, as having "got that getting-away-from-the-cops speed." The student is disciplined.

A still of the Eagles' DeSean Jackson and his legendary speed on Madden 12.
Cookieboy17/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If there is a more pleasantly excitable sports announcer than Gus Johnson, then he hasn't excited me.

Yet one of his signature phrases has gotten a 15-year-old Ohio student into trouble.

The phrase is: "He's got that getting-away-from-the-cops speed." The student has not been able to get away from his teachers for saying it.

As the Sandusky Register reports, the student was announcing a 7th-grade football game.

Moved, perhaps, by an opposing player's speed of foot, the unnamed youth offered Johnson's famous phrase, which is heard on Electronic Arts' Madden games, on which Johnson is an announcer.

Some have objected in the past that Johnson only uses the phrase when black players score. Johnson himself is black.

Indeed, when he first uttered the phrase in describing the Tennessee Titans' Chris Johnson (embedded at the bottom), the announcer was strident that this wasn't a racist comment. He said at the time: "If there is a perception of racism in this analogy, it is not coming from me. People of all races have run from the law. However, to those who are offended, I apologize."

In the Ohio incident, the announcer was referencing a player from Edison schools who is of Haitian descent.

The announcer was allegedly threatened on Facebook, after making that call. The boy was disciplined by the school for using the phrase, although the punishment wasn't disclosed.

His parents are reportedly thinking about taking legal action against both the Margaretta School where their son attends and against those who allegedly threatened their son.

They insist that the phrase is "very popular" on Madden 12. Indeed, here is just one example, where the Philadelphia Eagles' DeSean Jackson is described as having "get-away-from-the-cops speed." (I've embedded the footage above.)

I have contacted EA to see whether it has any comment regarding its continued use of Johnson's phrase and will update with all the speed of a cop chase, should I hear.

The Margaretta Schools' superintendent Ed Kurt told the Sandusky Register: "We worked with the student, and we hope this is a learning experience."

Sometimes, though, in cases where students are disciplined, it is the teachers and administrators who seem a touch slow to have their own learning experiences.

In this case, the Margaretta Schools said they would speak more about the event on Friday.