By Ray Hamill — The “Let Them Play CA” movement continued to build momentum this week, with frustrated athletes, coaches and parents pushing Governor Gavin Newsom to allow a full return to high school and youth sports.
On Tuesday, a group of coaches sent a letter to Newsom asking the governor to lift his ban immediately, citing concerns over the student athletes’ mental health, among other things.
In addition there is a second round of “Let Them Play CA” rallies planned for next Friday afternoon.
The letter, which was signed by several high profile coaches, cited data from the 40-plus other states that are competing successfully right now.
Those states have “proven it can be done successfully,” the letter said, adding that a return to sports “does not pose any significant COVID risk to the participants, or the community at large.”
The coaches also talked about the negative mental health impact from the shutdown, which has been in place since last March.
“The ban on youth sports competition is currently creating an alarming negative mental health impact in the areas of suicide ideation, anxiety, depression and suicide itself,” they said.
According to the letter, more than three million young athletes have been “benched” since March.
The letter also asked Newsom to remove youth sports from the state’s colored-tier system, which allows various sports return depending on what tier a county is in.
“The current youth sports’ colored-tiered system is disconnected from real data available,” the letter said. “The outcome of this system is a rapid decline in the mental health of all children who play youth sports in our state. This system creates a rapidly growing socio-economic disparity between those that can afford private schools, those that live in higher economic school districts, and those who can afford club teams which are traveling outside the state by the thousands every week in violation of the current order.”
Locally, close to 100 student athletes, coaches, parents and fans from multiple different H-DNL schools held a “Let Them Play CA” rally outside of Ferndale City Hall last week.
A second local “Let Them Play CA” rally will be held in Eureka next Friday.
The event is being organized by parents of student athletes from multiple local high schools.