The members of a fifth grade New Jersey basketball team voted on Friday to forfeit their season, rather than play without the team’s two girl players. Two weeks earlier, the director of the Catholic Youth Organization notified the St. John’s team that the girls would have to be removed from the team for the final two games and that the team’s previous record would be erased since those games were played with a coed roster. The girls joined the team four years ago, after being unable to find enough players to form a girls team.
According to the story at NJ.com, referees at Friday’s game informed the eleven members of the St. John’s team that they had been instructed by the league director not to officiate the game if the girls played. Officials and coaches debated for 15 minutes before posing the question to St. John’s players: Were they willing to forfeit their entire season to keep the girls on the team? The vote was unanimous and a cheer of “Unity” started. The crowd cheered.
After the referees and opposing team left the gymnasium, the St. John’s players, many wearing t-shirts with the slogan #unitygames, divided up and played against each other.