Lawsuit Targets Michigan’s Ban On Contact Sports
The high school support organization “Let Them Play” and the parents of some athletes are moving forward with a lawsuit against the State of Michigan. The suit specifically targets the state Health and Human Services Department for its continued ban on contact sports.
The Let Them Play group has been vocal about its opposition to the ban and has held a number of rallies at the state capitol over the issue. This past weekend the group’s latest rally drew several thousand. Dozens of High School athletes and parents from Calhoun County joined the rally. Several students spoke to the crowd about their desire and need to get back in action. The state high school athletic association is not a party to the suit, but the Michigan Amateur Youth Hockey League is involved.
The lawsuit names DHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel as a defendant. Even though much of the state control action in question was originated through her predecessor who abruptly resigned his position. The department last month allowed many other high school sports to resume but kept the lid on contact sports like wrestling and even competitive cheer.
Attorney Peter Ruddell with the Honigman Business Law Firm is representing the plaintiffs in the case. He told reporters during a virtual media briefing that the lawsuit is pretty much the last straw after communicating with the state on the need to get sports programs going again. Ruddell says, “There is no other place for citizens to appeal a decision that restricts the parents and student-athletes ability to pursue a key component of their public education.”
The Detroit News reports the lawsuit invokes several areas of legal protection the student-athletes believe work in their favor including U.S. constitutional Equal Protections and references to the Right to Free Assembly, and even the Right to Free Education amendment in the Michigan State Constitution.