Meet Maddy. She is 12, and lives in the state of Georgia in the USA.
Until a few weeks ago, Maddy was on the football team for her school, tellingly named “Strong Rock Christian School”. But she’s now been told by the CEO of her private school that she’s not allowed to play next year.
There are no rules against females playing on the football team.
But Maddy has been banned because of concerns that her involvement might lead to have male teammates having “impure thoughts”.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Maddy’s mother Cassy explained that further, telling a news station in the US: “In the meeting with the CEO of the school, I was told that the reasons behind it were one, that the boys were going to start lusting after her and have impure thoughts about her and that the locker-room talk was not appropriate for a female to hear even though she had a separate locker room from the boys.”
Yes. It’s not appropriate for Maddy to overhear the locker talk, even though she has her own separate locker rooms.
The best part about this entirely ridiculous story is what Cassy has said about the school’s CEO attempting to cite the Bible when backing up his decision. Cassy told another station that the CEO failed to find an exact quote about why Maddy wasn’t allowed to play: “He said, ‘The best I can up with is that men and women are created equal but different.’ And that is all he could say.”
You can see Maddy explaining everything in the video below:
Since then, Maddy and her mother have taken the media by storm – appearing on Good Morning America and CBS Atlanta. They’ve also launched a Facebook page and a Twitter page, called “Let Her Play” – these encourage women to join their fight for equality and send in their own stories of when they might have been discriminated against. The Facebook page has since hit over 46,000 likes.
After all the media attention, the athletic director from the Christian school, Phil Roberts, decided to release a statement.
Unfortunately for him, it was a stupid one. He said: “Our official policy is that middle school girls play girl sports and middle school boys play boy sports.”
Phil? 2013 called. It told you to get stuffed.
Thus far, Maddy hasn’t managed to get back on the team. But there is a good side to the story.
Female professional teams, such as the Atlanta Phoenix Women’s team, have been inviting Maddy to attend their games. And there’s been far more awareness raised about women not having equal roles in sport.
As Maddy says in the video above – for her, sport isn’t based on a gender. Everyone on the field is an athlete and they’re all the same.
This is for any game and for any girl who wants to play any sport. Spread the word with the hashtag #letherplay.