A group of high school athletes in California filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday to challenge his ban on indoor youth sports during the coronavirus pandemic.
With the help of their parents and guardians, a group of five athletes — a basketball player, a wrestler, a cheerleader, and two volleyball players — filed a temporary restraining order in Orange County Superior Court.
According to FOX 11 in Los Angeles, the lawsuit claims that youth sports have been treated unfairly under the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause because collegiate and professional indoor sports have been allowed to play in the state.
“It’s been a little bit annoying considering I’ve been working hard all this quarantine and then we just keep getting canceled, it’s just frustrating,” said Caleb Graham, a junior who plays for the Canyon High School basketball team in Anaheim.
“I’ve been watching college volleyball for a while now and it’s frustrating seeing them play cause we’re not able to,” added Elodie Danet, a sophomore volleyball player at El Modena High School in Orange. “We’re not able to play the season and have the experience needed for college.”
Caleb’s father, Brad Graham, who is a member of the grassroots advocacy group Let Them Play CA, claims Newsom lacks medical evidence to justify banning youth sports while professional and collegiate sports are permitted to continue.
“They can’t say that it’s OK for college to play and not OK for the high school kids to play,” Brad Graham said, according to the station. “The time to move forward is now, there’s not a huge risk to these kids, especially if we follow the same protocols that colleges and pros follow.”
High school athletes are currently prohibited from playing indoors unless a county reaches the yellow tier (minimal risk), according to the Orange County Register.
California recently updated its guideline to allow for competition of outdoor, high-contact sports — citing improved health conditions and concern for mental health. Those types of sports are allowed in purple and red tiers counties that have “an adjusted case rate equal to or less than 14 per 100,000” residents.