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Grade-school basketball players forfeit season rather than ban girls from team

By WITW Staff on February 13, 2017

A Catholic Youth Organization basketball team in New Jersey voted to forfeit the season so they could keep two female players on the team.

As reports, the league’s director told the St. John’s Chargers that they were not allowed to play as a co-ed team, that their record would be wiped because girls had played “illegally,” and that they would be prohibited from playing the final two games of the season if the female players remained on board.

Jim Goodness, a spokesperson for the archdiocese of Newark, told that the “rules specifically state the teams should be boys or girls only.”

Parents and coaches decided to let the children vote on how they would proceed. When asked if they wanted to “play the game without the two young ladies on the team,” or “stay as a team as you have all year,” all eleven players voted to keep the girls on the team and forfeit the season.

Assistant coach Keisha Martel, whose daughter plays with the Chargers, reiterated the consequences of their decision. “It doesn’t matter!” one boy replied.

This is the second gender-based conflict to affect a New Jersey student basketball team. The parents of a seventh-grader at St. Theresa’s School in Kenilworth, New Jersey, recently sued the school because their daughter had been barred from playing on the boys’ team. Sydney Phillips was subsequently expelled, and then let back into the school when an appeals court judge ruled that she must be allowed to attend her classes. She is still prohibited from playing with the boys.

For more on the Chargers’ vote, watch the video below:


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