A New Jersey CYO basketball team made up of fifth grade boys had a choice: Kick their female teammates off the team or forfeit the season. They decided to forfeit.
As detailed by NJ.com, the league director told the St. Johns team that a coed team was not allowed in the boys league. The parents explained the situation to the players and the players opted to forfeit. The team is made up of nine boys and two girls and has been playing together for four years.
“Pride. Just pure pride,” answered parent Denise Laskody through tears when asked by NJ.com what she thought of the vote. “These kids are doing the right thing. We don’t have to tell them what to do. They just know. It’s amazing.”
A spokesman for the archdiocese of Newark told NJ.com that the rules says that teams must be boys or girls only. The spokesman said that the St. John’s athletic director, Jack Cajuste, acknowledged he had made a mistake in allowing the team to exist as coed for the last four years.
A complaint had been made two weeks ago by St. Theresa’s, where the family of seventh-grader Sydney Phillips is suing after she was removed from the boys team. She and her sister were then expelled. A judge ruled the sisters must be reinstated pending a hearing.
Referees were told not to work the game if the girls were on the roster. That led to the vote to forfeit.
The opposing team left the gym and St. Johns played a scrimmage, wearing #UnityGames T-shirts.