Female football player has to sit out game

Or her team wouldn’t even get to play:

Why? It wasn’t due to injury. Rather, [Mina] Johnson decided not to play in the [junior high] game after the opposition threatened to forfeit if Johnson was allowed to play. Apparently, Northeast had a problem with its boys playing football against a girl.

I fail to see a good reason for this. Is it because Johnson is at more risk of injury than the boys? I would say she can handle herself:

As the Tidewater News reported, Johnson recorded four sacks in a recent game against Rocky Mount, and was gaining a reputation in the league as a standout junior varsity player.

Or maybe Northeast knows she’s good, so they wanted an edge in the game? I don’t see how that would matter:

So instead of making a fuss about the whole situation, Johnson sat on the sidelines for her team’s 60-0 victory.

There is no good reason for the school to forfeit simply because a girl is playing. If she can compete at the level of the boys, she should be allowed to do so.

I’ve written in the past about my thoughts on women and sports. I’m not about to sit and watch the WNBA, a league where it’s a big deal if someone dunks the ball – I want to watch the best of the best, and when it comes to sports, even the most stubborn feminist knows men dominate there – but that doesn’t mean women should be denied basic opportunities.

Now compounding the issue, another school may threaten to forfeit:

Northeast isn’t the only upcoming opponent considering a forfeit if Johnson doesn’t sit out. Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Christian Academy is also reportedly considering a forfeit as well; the two schools are scheduled to play a game on Oct. 27.

The official reason for Word of God as well as Northeast is that they have the same athletic association which forbids girls and boys crossing into each others sports. Of course, each school could do the right thing and ignore the rule, or if they want to play by the book, they could seek an exception or review to the rule. But neither has bothered. I’m willing to bet the religious school is more happy about the division than anyone, but it’s horseshit no matter who does it. Let Mina Johnson play.

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16 Responses

  1. I’m not disagreeing with most of your sentiments here Michael, but as always I see you have no regard for rules being followed.

    I know you’d love it if everything was voluntary and I know you rail against “internalized rules” like they are a product of Satan himself, but come on.

    Regardless of how good or bed or necessary a rule is, everyone has to play by the same set and you can’t just choose which ones you are going to follow today and go with different ones tomorrow. Sports require sets of unchanging rules.

    I’m only taking issue with your “just ignore the rule”, I’m encouraged that you also mentioned having it reviewed or seeking an exception, but usually this isn’t the case.

  2. or bad**

  3. Title IX prevents these schools from obeying the Association’s rules on this issue. They should have simply ignored it. If the Association then fined them, then they should have either threatened a lawsuit or not paid and found another umbrella group – perhaps the one Johnson’s school uses.

  4. Title IX only applies to schools getting federal monies, I wonder if that has anything to do with this.

  5. I’m not sure what to think of this. I have no problem with this girl playing, she’s able to make her own risk assessment and it sounds like she more than earned her place on the team.

    However, I saw a news report about a boy trying to play in an all-girl field hockey league, and parents compained he’d be too powerful – and I think they have a good point. I want to be consistent here, but that really leaves people out who want to play a sport without a league for their gender.

  6. Those schools that will not let women play must have been watching womens rugby. Those ladies are hard on the field and give no quater!

  7. I looked into the Association further and it looks like all the schools are Christian. I had originally edited my post so as not to reflect speculation that religion was a motivating force here (because I thought Northeast was not Christian), but it looks like it is. According to these people, girls and boys are not to play sports together like this because, well, I don’t know? Maybe all that abstinence-only ignorance has caused these people to think these girls will start getting pregnant when they get within a 5 foot radius of boys.

    But on point here, the Association is participating with schools which use fields that are supported in part by public funds. (Southampton is a VCC member and uses fields used by public schools, while also competing against those schools.) It’s hard to find the information, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Association schools play public schools as well.

  8. It looks like a school against which Johnson previously played, Rocky Mount, is also a member of the same association as Northeast – http://www.ncisaa.org/MS_M-T.php.

  9. Religion may or may not have anything to do with it, I don’t see any real evidence of that, but if they get no federal money, than the asso. can have whatever rules it wants.

    I don’t see what playing on public fields has to do with it, if they are playing public schools or paying for their usage, it would really be irrelevant.

  10. It’s like the Interstate commerce laws. One way or another, it’s all connected.

  11. sigh. The government has purview over EVERYTHING, because in some round about way a dollar that was once in the possession of the Treasury gets blown by the wind past a place.

  12. Again, I’m not saying she shouldn’t have been allowed to play, and as other Michael said, she must understand whatever risk there is, so it’s her business. But I think the schools were within their rights.

    The school she plays for doesn’t have to play with these teams.

  13. I don’t understand why she is sitting out. The other team should be required to forfeit all games for the rest of the season – and the coach should be banned for life. Teaching bigotry is wrong.

  14. That’s just plain ignorance.

    Why not just say that she can start her own football league and make the rules whatever she wants. That’s also foolishly extreme.

    Private school. Private rules. The public school is not forced to play with them.

  15. Nate, I agree with you the schools should legally be allowed to do it. That doesn’t mean they can do it free of criticism.

  16. Certainly not, but I was just reading today how some sport asso. have had issues allowing certain coed sports because of heightened injury risks, leading to loss of insurance coverage.

    I don’t know if that has anything to do with this policy, but it shows there can be legitimate reasons for the prohibition.

    Again, not that I think she should not be allowed to play, but there you are.

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