Gordon Howie headlines his latest post "Student Barred From Sports For Supporting Unborn." Howie links to a Columbia NewsTribune article with the following lede:
A Helias Catholic High School freshman was ruled ineligible from participating in high school sports for up to a year because he ran in what the Missouri High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) considers a “non-school competition.”
Fifteen-year-old James Vignola ran nearly seven miles near Boonville in the LIFE Runners A-Cross the Country Pro-Life Relay. He knew going into the run that it would affect his cross country and track careers at Helias
.“I thought it was the right thing to do, and my conscience was telling me to do it,” he said.
MSHSAA eligibility standards state, “You may not practice for, or participate with, a non-school team or in any organized non-school athletic competition and for your school team in the same sport during the school sport season.”The student is being declared ineligible because he competed in a "non-school competition" during the school season. The South Dakota High School Activities Association has similar rules. I'm sure every state does. In fact, I'm fairly certain the student would have faced sanction for competing in a "I Love Kitties Relay" or a "Jihadists Are People Too Relay" or "I Hate Everyone And Am Running To Raise Money To Go To College To Study Philosophy To Become A Professional Nihilist Relay." I'm betting that Howie would not be upset if the student were barred from competing because he competed in one of those events.
One can argue that the event constitutes neither "practice" nor "competition." In that case, the headline should read "Officious Bureaucrats Bar Student From Competing Even Though He Broke No Rules." That headline, of course, doesn't work because Howie is in the business of creating martyrs. It would fall under the "dog bites man" storyline.
Finally, the tenor of this post indicates that Howie seems to believe that acts of conscience should be consequence free. The whole idea behind civil disobedience is that one accept the consequence of the act to show the injustice of the situation. (This act would arguably fall under civil disobedience if one considers the MHSAA a governing body.)
Actions have consequences. The student seems willing to accept them. There's an appeals process. That last thing this situation needs is Howie's hype machine.