Devon Allen’s disqualification in the men’s 110-meter hurdles final at the World Athletics Championships wasn’t without controversy.
The Philadelphia Eagles receiver was hit with a false start during Sunday’s event in Eugene, Ore. Rules stipulate that a reaction time within 0.100 seconds of the gunshot signals a false start, per NFL.com, and Allen’s was .001 faster than the .1 second threshold.
The ruling caused a stir online, as Allen’s start is seemingly indistinguishable from the other runners, according to a slow-motion view of the event.
“It’s a brutal rule. Devon Allen did not move before the gun, but because his reaction time was 1,000th of a second faster than allowed he’s out of the final,” NBC Sports’ Reuben Frank tweeted Sunday. “He and [Grant] Holloway moved together to the naked eye, but Allen is DQ’d and Holloway wins gold. Heartbreaking turn of events.”
Elsewhere, some folks called for the removal of the starting block sensors, which detect a runner’s reaction time. Others demanded the reaction time threshold be lowered.
“GET RID OF THE BLOCK SENSORS!” Anson Henry, the host of the “Voices of Track & Field” podcast, tweeted. “If you start after the gun, you should be able to go. Period. Now Devon Allen is gonna be DQ’d because of a 0.99 reaction time?? The sensors are ruining some possibly great races since they’ve been in the sport.”
A rule is a rule, however, and the 27-year-old Allen was not allowed to partake in an event to see who is the fastest — for being too fast.
Allen has won three US National Championships in the 110-meter hurdles. He placed fourth in the event at the Tokyo Olympics last summer after a fifth-place finish in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Allen played football at Oregon from 2014-2016 and signed a rookie deal with the Eagles back in April.