It looks like California Gov. Gavin Newsom isn’t just pissing off business owners across his state – he’s also earned the ire of students who say the Democrat leader’s draconian COVID mandates are killing their sports opportunities.
A group of five students are now suing Newsom over alleged discrimination, saying they’re being deprived of playing sports thanks to the governor’s continued restrictions against indoor youth sports despite the state having already allowed collegiate and professional indoor sporting events to resume.
The group, comprised of a basketball player, a wrestler, a cheerleader, and two volleyball players, argues that the discrepancy violates equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and deprives them of opportunities, championships and scholarships.
"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 and basketball player at Canyon High School in Anaheim, per Fox News.
Elodie Danet, a sophomore volleyball player at El Modena High School in Orange, added, "I’ve been watching college volleyball for a while now and it’s frustrating seeing them play cause we’re not able to. We’re not able to play the season and have the experience needed for college."
“The opportunity for our kids to play and compete is fleeting. If we do not act swiftly, their high school season will be over,” Danet’s father, Dana, noted. “Many of our kids will not have the opportunity to play at the collegiate level.”
Under the current mandates, indoor youth sports are only allowed in counties that have reached the “yellow tier” for COVID cases. Most outdoor youth sports are currently being permitted in areas that are still in purple and red tiers that have "an adjusted case rate equal to or less than 14 per 100,000" people.
A statement accompanying the students’ lawsuit notes that “there is no medical evidence that competing in indoor team activities is safe for college and professional athletes but not high school athletes,” adding that Newsom’s ban has a “disparate impact” on “women athletes and the disabled.”
The group has already won their first lawsuit, filed in San Diego County, against the restrictions, resulting in a temporary restraining order against Newsom's ban that has - for now - allowed indoor youth sports to resume in the county. Now, the group says they hope their continued efforts will bring about a statewide change that allows all student athletes to play.