'Let us play!' Football players speak out over suspended season
High school athletes spoke out Monday after the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference announced last week it was suspending the fall football season.
Chanting “Let us play! Let us play!,” players and parents from all over Fairfield County descended on the New Canaan High School football field Monday morning to defend their right to play there. "This is not just a few senior parents who are upset, this is a community thing," says one parent.
"It gives you life lessons that are not replicated anywhere else. And so I really want these kids to have the opportunity to do it," says State Rep. Tom O'Dea (R).
O'Dea says if you can play football anywhere in the U.S. in 2020, it should be in Connecticut. "We have, what, less than 50 hospitalizations across the state right now. So we can do it! The curve is flat."
He says managing any extra risks this fall does pose should be an individual choice. "You may make the decision to not play…I totally agree with that decision, but I want the parents and the child to make that decision. I don't want the state to mandate it."
The CIAC has said it does believe football can be played safely this fall, but it can't put teacher, coaches and principals in the position of going against DPH recommendations until the organization changes its tune.
In lieu of a contact season, the CIAC is recommending lower-risk activities, like seven-on-seven touch football.
Players say that's no replacement for the real thing. "It takes away from people like me that play on the line, we can't play seven on seven. I'm not a quarterback." says Lorenzo Delfino, Norwalk High School senior.
The CIAC also announced last week that girls' volleyball games can be played indoors as scheduled, provided all players are wearing masks.