LEBANON, Ohio (WLWT) — A 10-year-old and his family were kicked out of a youth basketball league after his mother, attending the game, refused to wear her mask over her nose.
The family, from Lebanon, wants the league’s decision reversed and said the incident never should have gone as far as it did.
Jennifer and Mike Chaney’s son Connor plays for Kings Basketball Association, part of the Cincinnati Premier Youth Basketball League. Mike Chaney is the assistant coach for the team, or at least he was one week ago.
Last Sunday, Jennifer Chaney was watching her son’s game against Sycamore and livestreaming via Facebook live to family and friends who could not attend due to COVID restrictions.
Chaney said she was wearing her mask below her nose, only covering her mouth when a spectator from the other team approached her and told her to wear her mask correctly. She said a man, who did not identify herself, approached her a few minutes later.
“He goes, ‘Well, is there a reason that you’re not wearing your mask the right way?’ I said, ‘There actually is. I have a medical reason for that,’ and he said, ‘Well, what is that?’ And I said, ‘Well, I don’t have to tell you that,'” Jennifer Chaney said.
She said the man left her alone but spectators from the opposing team continued to yell at her during the first half of the game to put her mask over her nose. She said she was also practicing social distancing and did not feel she was endangering any other guests.
At halftime, the league president Ben Goodyear showed up.
“Ma’am you need to leave please,” he Jennifer Chaney. “Take your kid with you and leave please.”
He then told her, “You’re not wearing your mask. I’m the league president.”
“I don’t give a s*** who you are,” she replied.
Chaney’s Facebook live video continued as she left the gym.
You can hear fans yelling at her for continuing to wear her mask under her nose.
“You got a power problem,” Jennifer Chaney said. “I ain’t bothering anyone down there. Yeah you do. You got a power problem. And you don’t even know if I have a medical condition, dumb a**.”
At the same time, the Chaneys said Goodyear instructed Mike and Conner to leave the court and told them they were being kicked out of the league.
“We had to get Connor off the court so emotionally, he’s very upset,” Mike Chaney said. “He starts crying, not understanding why and I’m honestly not understanding why either.”
Connor’s parents want the league to reverse its decision on expelling the family from the league and allow Connor to finish the season.
The family said Connor has been watching the games virtually at home and wants to play with his friends again.
The family also provided WLWT with a physician’s note, attesting to Jennifer Chaney having a medical condition that exempts her from wearing a mask. She said she has been treated for the condition for several years.
The league’s COVID-19 rules, listed online, clearly state that spectators are required to wear face coverings. The league president told WLWT the league’s rules “do not grant medical exemptions.”
The state’s order on youth sports, released by the Ohio Department of Health, reads that spectators are required to wear face coverings but individuals can be exempt due to medical conditions.
Cincinnati Premier Youth Basketball League COVID-19 rules:
“Everyone entering the gym is required to wear a cloth face covering and follow social distancing guidelines at all times. Anyone not wearing a face covering will not be allowed in the gym. Anyone who removes their face covering will be required to leave the facility immediately. Players can remove their mask for warmups and the game.
“Plastic masks or face shields are not permitted.”
Statement provided by president Ben Goodyear:
“In accordance with the State of Ohio Department of Health Covid-19 Sports Order, the CPYBL has established clear Covid-19 guidelines for all participants, including coaches, players, parents/spectators. The guidelines require all game attendees to wear a mask at all times. In this case, the parent was given multiple opportunities to wear her mask but she refused. Therefore, she was asked to leave the gym. At no time, did she ever alert gym or league personnel that she had a medical condition. However, league rules do not grant medical exemptions. We did this because the CPYBL takes the safety of players, coaches, officials, and fans very seriously. To be clear, her ejection from the gym was the result of her refusal to wear a mask. Her expulsion from the league was the result of her multiple violations of the CPYBL Parent Code of Conduct.”
Excerpt from the Ohio Department of Health’s Sept. 25 order which provides requirements for youth, collegiate, amateur, club and professional sports:
“Spectators must wear face coverings at all times except for one of the reasons stated in the Director’s Order for Facial Coverings throughout the State of Ohio, signed July 23, 2020, or as it may thereafter be amended. The Order’s exemptions include, but are not limited to: 1. The individual is under 10 years of age; 2. The individual has a medical condition, including respiratory conditions that restrict breathing, mental health conditions, or disabilities that contraindicate the wearing of a facial covering.”
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