The 12-year-old daughter of a football coach in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is being sidelined by the archdiocese of her Catholic school.
According to WGAL News 8, Brooke Choi, a seventh grader at Pope John Paul II Elementary School in Chester County, has played football for four years. Her father, Mike, is the head football coach for Pequea Valley High School. Brooke wants to join her school’s tackle football team but faces pushback from the administration.
While a girl has played football for the school’s team before, it was prior to the implementation of a 2014 policy that forbade girls from playing. Brooke has even practiced with the team several times — but once the pads are put on, she’s asked to leave the field.
The reason that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will not allow girls to participate in tackle football is due to the possibility of “immodest contact” while playing the sport. Mike believes that the decision to take that risk should be left to the player and her family, not the archdiocese.
“I think it’s a convenient excuse to not let somebody play football. If it’s OK for us as a family, then it should be a decision that we make, not the one that they would make for us,” he told WGAL.
The Choi family is continuing to battle the archdiocese on the matter and is prepared to sue if necessary. For Brooke, the whole matter is upsetting.
“I just want to be out there. I love football, and I just want to play,” she said.
Footage provided by WPMT Harrisburg
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