‘Let Them Play’: Thousands Rally Against Winter Sports Ban at Michigan State Capitol

Whitmer
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Thousands of Michigan parents and students rallied Saturday in Lansing, Michigan, as Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer once again postponed the state’s school sports programs.

Gov. Whitmer scotched the Feb. 1 start date for winter sports, pushing it off about a month until Feb. 28. This is the second time the state has pushed off school sports. The policy makes Michigan the only state in the nation that has still not restarted school sports.

The protest at the state capitol was organized by Let Them Play, a group started in 2020 by Monroe, Michigan, businesswoman Jayme McElvany on behalf of her high school athlete son, MLive reported.

Saturday’s event, which saw at least 2,000 students, parents, coaches, and others in attendance, is the third event of its kind during the coronavirus crisis.

“The crowd was incredible, and the kids who got up and spoke really showcased the emotions that everyone is going through right now,” McElvany told MLive.

“I feel like a mom to 60,000 kids right now, and I couldn’t be prouder of all of them for continuing to battle for their right to play organized youth sports. I’m fighting for all of them, and we are working together to do what is right and let them play again,” McElvany added.

McElvany also pointed out that the protest did not feature any political affiliations, either. No Democrat or Republican slogans or signage was in evidence. It was an utterly apolitical movement.

“If you can ignore 2,000 kids screaming and begging for you to let them play sports again, that’s unexplainable,” McElvany continued. “I’ve been adamant about keeping these rallies away from politics and creating a friendly message that is simply asking for Gov. Whitmer to work with us to make this possible.

“Our hope is that this event shows our state government and the health department that we will do whatever it takes to play sports again. If they heard any of these brave young kids that came up here and spoke today, I don’t know how you can disagree,” McElvany concluded.

McElvany and members of her movement also noted that the Michigan High School Athletic Association just finished a massive study that showed a coronavirus positivity rate of only .2 percent among students, coaches, and support personnel in Michigan’s schools. But despite the program and other scientific data that shows that schools do not spread the virus to students, teachers, and their families, Whitmer continues to lock kids out of sports.

Let Them Play has also prepared a lawsuit that they intend to file in the next week if state officials do not reverse the school sports ban.

“We’re hoping to hear something from some government official today,” said Jayme McElvany, organizer of Let Them Play Michigan, Inc. “Obviously, if we don’t hear something by Monday, that’s the deadline for us. Time is of the essence.”

McElvany’s goals have also been endorsed by at least two school systems. The Gaylord community school district in Otsego County passed a resolution last week calling for the ban on sports to be lifted “immediately,” while administrators of Clio Area High School added their voice with an open letter calling for the same thing.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.

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