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Lawsuit seeks reversal of Michigan’s ban on contact sports

‘Let Them Play’ has filed a lawsuit to allow high school winter sports to be played as soon as possible.
Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 11:58 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. - A lawsuit has been filed to allow high school winter sports to be played as soon as possible.

The lawsuit from ‘Let Them Play’, and other plaintiffs, is against the new director of the state health department, Elizabeth Hertel, and calls for the winter sports season to start immediately.

“Unfortunately, this morning we had to take action we would have preferred not to take,” said Peter Ruddell, the lawyer representing ‘Let Them Play Michigan, Inc’.

After being banned for more than two and half months, and with sports still not allowed to return for nearly three weeks, legal action has been taken.

“We have opened restaurants, we have opened bars, we’ve opened casinos, we’ve opened all sorts of indoor activities that are allowed,” said Ruddell. “Why not high school sports?”

As cases continue to decline, Ruddell says he has talked Hertel and calls those conversations “positive”. However:

“The sense of urgency was not at the same place where our student-athletes was,” said Ruddell.

The lawsuit says the shut down of winter sports has violated the constitution and causes discrimination based on socioeconomic status.

“Those with means are able to travel to Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, wherever, to conduct their sport, compete and play,” said Ruddell. “While those who rely on the public system are left behind.”

Ruddell says he gives Governor Gretchen Whitmer credit for reducing the spread of COVID-19 within the state, but says she needs to look at the bigger picture.

“We think there is a boarder impact of the ban on indoor athletics that is negatively impacting these student athletes that is not warranted based on the data or science,” said Ruddell.

The state health department tells TV6 it will continue to make “data-focused decisions.”

Under current orders, winter sports are set to resume on February 22.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.