In New Hampshire, a high school track and field coach has been fired after he refused to force his athletes to wear masks while competing.
After being informed of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association’s mask guidelines, Pembroke Academy track and field coach Bradley Keyes, who had been head coach of the program for four years, sent an email to the athletic director, enraged at the mandate, explaining his refusal to force his athletes to wear masks, calling the mandate “senseless, irrational, cowardice bulls***.”
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“I’ll come straight to the point. I will not put kids on the track and tell them to run any races while wearing masks. I will not stand up in front of the kids and lie to them and tell them that these masks are doing anything worthwhile out in an open field with wind blowing and the sun shining,” Pembroke wrote in the email. “These insane policies are robbing kids of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for no valid reason other than irrational fears and going along with the sheep. … Fire me if you must.”
The NHIAA recommended all athletes wear masks during running events, not just on the sidelines or at team camps. Hurdlers and throwers had a choice whether or not to wear a mask. Pembroke Academy, along with other competing schools, agreed to these guidelines.
After a couple of days, Keyes posted on a blog to announce his firing that stated:
One of the fundamental parts of all of this is learning to play by the rules. The rules supposedly put in place in order to create a fair and level playing field, to let everyone know what is expected and allowed, and then to let the best man, woman, or team win.
Except now we are adding arbitrary, senseless, ill-thought rules.
I have had a few coaches thank me for speaking out — for saying what they would like to say. Some have even stated that they will be telling their athletes that there’s nothing that can be done if their masks happened to fall down or off at the start of the race. That is how many coaches are going to deal with these new mask rules – they are going to tell their athletes to ignore them, to cheat.
We now have some coaches telling athletes to play by some rules and ignore others. Then we’ll have other coaches who tell their athletes that the new mask rules suck but they’ll still need to play by those rules.
So now you’ve got an un-level playing field and blatant violation of rules. And that leads to the real crime in this situation – an undermining one of the cornerstones of high school sports and the lessons we hope to teach these young adults.
I won’t be a part of that.
Athletes shared Keyes concern of wearing a mask during events, with track athlete David Testerman telling WBZ that masks “gets you really tired especially when it gets up to 80 degrees soon and it’s going to be really hard for us to keep doing what we live to do.”