Thousands of student athletes, coaches, parents, and organizers rallied at the Michigan Capitol on Saturday for the ability to play school sports.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has banned winter contact sports, including basketball, hockey, wrestling, and competitive cheer, until “at least” February 21.
Let Them Play, a group organized by parent Jayme McElvany, organized the rally, which featured players giving first-hand accounts of the impact the governor’s restrictions have had:
Mike Meekhof, a reporter with M7 Sports, said there were at least 2,000 people on the Capitol lawn.
The Lansing State Journal reported:
Saturday’s rally was part of an intensified effort over the last week for high school sports to be played. Since the MDHHS announcement, the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, Competitive Cheer Coaches Association of Michigan, Michigan Wrestling Association and Michigan High School Hockey Coaches Association have written letters to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state officials pushing for their sports to get back in action.
The Senate took action Thursday, passing a resolution urging Whitmer and the MDHHS to allow for all winter sports to be played.
Students from across the state joined in:
— Dave Lester (@coachles89) January 30, 2021
So proud of our Sand Creek Girls Basketball players for showing up at the Capitol today. Way to stand up for what is right. Thank you to all the parents who participated as well. Our kids mental and physical health is worth fighting for. #LetThemPlay pic.twitter.com/vHLXNZ5ECr
— Sand Creek Athletics (@TheCreekAggies) January 31, 2021
— Corey Markham (@MarkhamCorey) January 30, 2021
The decisions our leaders have to make are not easy. They rarely are. The personal experiences, emotion and passion today was inspiring. This is deeper than playing a game. Proud of our Rams who showed and represented peacefully and respectfully. #LetThemPlay pic.twitter.com/z3MSxMuV1j
— Coach Clough (@CloughK) January 30, 2021
McElvany told The Kyle Olson Show this week that the purpose of her group is to show students that they “are being heard.”
“We will not stop fighting for them and they’re not ignored — because they feel completely ignored right now,” she said.
She said the uncertainty over being able to play is putting many kids on an “emotional roller coaster.”
“Can somebody cut these kids a break?” McElvany said after detailing several messages student athletes have sent her. “It’s disgusting what we’re doing to these kids.”
Despite Whitmer and former Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon refusing to listen to outside groups about the impact shutdown orders have been having on residents, McElvany said she thought some are finally starting to hear them.
After come discussions, “it’s looking encouraging,” she said.
McElvany said if Whitmer and her agencies do not “immediately” begin winter sports, they are prepared to take the state to court.
“We are ready to file it with the push of a button,” she said.