• HS Football 9/25: Gladstone 22, Negaunee 20
  • HS Football 9/25: Calumet 27, Gwinn 0
  • HS Football 9/25: Rapid River 48, Engadine 6
  • HS Football 9/25: Iron Mountain 41, Bark River-Harris 6
  • HS Football 9/25: West Iron County 16, L'Anse 7
  • HS Football 9/25: Stephenson 72, Ontonagon 32
  • HS Football 9/25: Menominee 42, Marinette, Wis. 8
  • HS Football 9/25: Sault Ste. Marie 22, Marquette 16
4251 articles
Saturday September 26, 2020
U.P. Senator Calls Football Cancellation 'Ridiculous'


Upper Peninsula State Senator Ed McBroom calls the cancellation of the high school and college football seasons in Michigan “ridiculous” and says that the decisions will hurt kids, young adults, and entire communities.

“It’s bunk,” McBroom (R-Norway) told RRN News Tuesday afternoon. “Plain and simple bunk! We are now highlighting just how ridiculous this has gotten. Whether it’s ridiculous in the sense in how you feel about the virus itself, or ridiculous in the fear of liability, we have completely let fear take over for rationality at this point.”

The Michigan High School Athletic Association, acting on Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request to not play football this fall, pulled the plug on the season last week. That decision came after many teams had already begun practicing.

McBroom, a dairy farmer from rural Dickinson County, says that he was not a big sports guy when he was young. He was more into music and forensics as a teen. But McBroom recognizes how it’s important for kids, and McBroom says that cancelling football will do nothing to stop the virus.

“To honestly think that somehow by disbanding football for the year, and making kids wear masks in the classroom, we are making them safer, because they’re not going to be hanging out with each other after hours?” McBroom said. “They’re not going to be hanging out with each other on weekends with no masks on? This is so incredibly shortsighted and ludicrous.”

And McBroom was just getting started.

“Who are these people who thought that this was somehow going to make kids and communities safer? I would argue that having a football season, and having a coach tell his team: ‘look, I can’t afford to have any one of you getting this virus, and getting sick. You need to wear a mask, you need to stay safe, you need to not hang out with kids from other schools’. That would have been more structurally safe than to just say, well, sorry, go home and do whatever you want for all evening. I mean, it’s just ridiculous.”

McBroom, who has also been a teacher, says the lack of a football season will be felt on the academic side of things.

“For some kids, the opportunity to play sports is that motivation to do better in those academic classes,” McBroom said. “We’re  taking away some things that for some kids are the motivation to get up and be at school today! We’re hurting them, and we didn’t even try to create a creative solution to the problem. It’s so devastating to those students and to their opportunity and to their motivation for their academics. And it’s hurtful to our communities.”

Whitmer has consistently said that playing football is not safe, and could easily spread the virus because of the "intimate" close contact nature of the sport.

But McBroom says some solutions could have included schools playing against each other within a 100-mile radius, or within the governor’s regions (the U.P. is Region Eight).

“We could have done something unique. We could have kept sports alive. Instead, we just cancel it, and pretend that it’s making the situation better. It’s so frustrating.”

For his part, MHSAA Director Mark Uyl said it was a difficult decision to cancel the football season and try again next spring, as he is a football parent himself.

“At the end of the day, we did everything we could to find a path forward for football this fall,” Uyl said. “But while continuing to connect with the Governor’s office, state health department officials, our member schools’ personnel and the Council, there is just too much uncertainty and too many unknowns to play football this fall."

Meanwhile, across the border in Wisconsin, literally five miles away from Iron Mountain-Kingsford, the Niagara-Goodman-Pembine "Northern Elite" Predators announced their football season will open on Sept. 25 with a game against Crandon.

Another neighboring state, Indiana, had a full slate of football games last weekend, and Ohio and Pennsylvania are also moving forward. A number of other states have either started, or will soon start, their football seasons as well.

Here in Michigan, a Facebook group has been gaining steam since the MHSAA pulled the plug on the season with the hashtag “Let Michigan High School Football Play”.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the group, started by a football mom at downstate Milan High School, had 16,323 members. Posts on the page have drawn thousands of shares and comments, many of which echoed McBroom’s sentiments.U.P.

The group is planning a rally at the state capitol this Friday at 4:00 ET and is encouraging players, coaches, and others from around Michigan to be there. The group is also speaking up on behalf of other high school sports teams which may also be cancelled in the coming months.

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