A happy ending: Cardinal reverses CYO ban on co-ed children’s basketball team
Jessica Remo reports at NJ.com:
Let the girls play ball.
That was the message sent Wednesday from the the Archdiocese of Newark’s newly installed archbishop, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, a dramatic reversal of a decision made two weeks ago to remove two 10-year-old girls from St. John’s 5th grade CYO basketball team.
After the girls were removed, their nine boy teammates stood in solidarity, refusing to play without them at a game on Friday. The story of their resolve gained widespread publicity after being reported by NJ Advance Media.
The team was told after that game that their season was forfeited because of the “stunt” and the final regular season game was canceled, parents said.
But today, Cardinal Tobin announced that the girls are to be immediately put back on the team, their 7-3 record is to be reinstated, the two regular games that were not played are to be rescheduled and played immediately, and the team is to continue on together into the playoffs.
In a statement, Jim Goodness, spokesman for the archdiocese, wrote, “While he recognizes that the recent decisions by CYO officials were aimed at an appropriate and consistent application of the organization’s rules, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the Archbishop of Newark, believes that the Saint John’s JV Black team should not have been penalized for mistakes that adults responsible for following the league rules may have made.” See the full statement, below.
After school, the team gathered in the gym where they waited for “an important announcement” from their coach, Rob Martel, who is also the father of one of the girls on the team.
“Our season is going to continue as a team, and we’re going to the playoffs,” Martel told the group, fighting back tears. Watch how the team reacted in our video, above.
Last year, the team made it all the way to the championship game. . .