A fifth-grade AAU under-11 youth basketball boys team is making national news for being disqualified from a tournament for playing a girl.
Huffington Post is reporting that the under-11 Charlottesville Cavs were disqualified from the National Travel Basketball Association (NTBA) tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, this past weekend because they played a girl, Kymora Johnson, on their roster. The team was 5-0 and had reached the tournament's semifinal before the disqualification dashed their championship hopes.
Johnson even suggested that she be banned so her team could continue playing in the tournament, but the NTBA didn't entertain that.
“I wanted my team to be able to make the championships, to be able to play,” Johnson told The Washington Post.
Instead of playing in the tournament's semifinal Sunday, they held a silent protest during the game. Johnson's mother, Jessica Thomas-Johnson, told Huffington Post that the team didn't hide her daughter's gender during the tournament's check-in progress and that the rule about girls not being allowed wasn't clearly explained during registration.
“We submit all of the paperwork, the whole team checks in in full uniform, with a birth certificate,” Thomas-Johnson said to ScrimmagePlay.com, as reported by Huffington Post.
Ironically, it was the third time that Johnson had played in the NTBA tournament and she had played with the Charlottesville Cavs for years. But the NTBA made the decision to not allow girls to play on boys teams this year.
The NTBA only waited until the semifinals to disqualify the Cavs because they weren't sure that they were going to play Johnson. When they did, the tournament disqualified them.
“I felt kind of bummed that we got disqualified,” Johnson told the Huffington Post. “We were really close to getting to the championship. I just felt bad for my teammates who couldn’t play and worked really hard to get to the championship.”
The Cavs silently protested the rule during Sunday's semifinal game, standing in solidarity with Johnson.
“They were all like, ‘It’s not your fault!’” Johnson said.
They wrote about that protest on their Facebook page.
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(photo: Inti St Clair/Blend Images/Corbis)
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