HEADLINE USA – A New Hampshire high-school track coach said he was fired for refusing to make his athletes wear face masks during outdoor competitions.
The state athletic association required that schools make all their athletes wear masks during practices and competitions.
But calling the mandate “senseless, irrational, cowardice bulls–t,” Pembroke Academy track-and-field coach Bradley Keyes refused to enforce it.
“I’ll come straight to the point. I will not put kids on the track and tell them to run any races while wearing masks,” Keyes wrote in an email to Pembroke athletics director Fred Vezina, according to CBS Boston.
“I will not stand up in front of the kids and lie to them and tell them that these masks are doing anything worthwhile out in an open field with wind blowing and the sun shining,” Keyes wrote. “These insane policies are robbing kids of once in a lifetime opportunities for no valid reason other than irrational fears and going along with the sheep. … Fire me if you must.”
This week, Keyes announced he had been fired by the school, which the school’s track website confirmed.
“I am not surprised,” Keyes said. “I made my choice to speak out. They made theirs.”
Since announcing his termination, Keyes said he has received dozens of messages of support.
“I was hoping the word would get out some and maybe there would be enough reaction that down the road, maybe in a few weeks or later, some of the restrictions would be changed,” Keyes explained. “I just think people haven’t pushed back and I decided it was time to push back.”
Keyes clarified that his athletes always wore masks on the buses or indoors, but said he did not believe they were necessary outdoors.
One of Keyes’s athletes, junior David Testerman, said he supports the coach and agreed that wearing masks while running outdoors is not a good idea.
“It gets you really tired … It’s gonna get up to 80 degrees soon, and it’s gonna be really hard for us to keep doing what we live to do,” he said.