High School Coach Fired After Rejecting Mandate That Track Runners Wear Masks

April 8, 2021 Updated: April 8, 2021

A New Hampshire high school track and field coach said he was fired for refusing to force his team to wear masks during races.

Bradley Keyes, who has been coaching at Pembroke Academy for four years, wrote on his blog that the school informed him that athletes would be required to wear masks when they compete, in accordance with the recommendations from New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA).

The NHIAA, which oversees high school sports across the state, recommends that athletes wear masks in all track and field events, except those involving throwing and jumping hurdles. It also orders that 6-feet of physical distancing must be maintained at all times, and specifically bans supporting or encouragement of gestures such as hugging, hand shaking, and fist bumps.

Keyes shared a “Fire Me if You Must” email he sent to Pembroke athletic director, in which he declared he would rather lose the job than enforce the mask requirement.

“I will not put kids on the track and tell them to run any races while wearing masks,” Keyes wrote in the April 3 email. “I will not stand up in front of the kids and lie to them and tell them that these masks are doing anything worthwhile out in an open field with wind blowing and the sun shining.”

“These insane policies are robbing kids of once in a lifetime opportunities for no valid reason other than irrational fears and going along with the sheep,” he added.

Keyes posted a new blog entry on April 5, saying he has been fired.

“One of the fundamental parts of all of this is learning to play by the rules. The rules supposedly put in place in order to create a fair and level playing field, to let everyone know what is expected and allowed, and then to let the best man, woman, or team win,” Keyes wrote. “Except now we are adding arbitrary, senseless, ill-thought rules.”

One of the Pembroke track team members told CBS Boston that he has concerns about wearing a mask while competing.

“It gets you really tired, especially when it’s going to get up to 80 degrees soon, and it’s going to be really hard for us to keep doing what we like to do,” the student-athlete said.

The incident gained media attention as Dr. Anthony Fauci, who leads the White House task force on the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, blames maskless sports activities for the spread of the virus in American schools.

“We’re finding out that it’s the team sports where kids are getting together, obviously many without masks, that are driving it—rather than in-the-classroom spread,” Fauci said April 6 on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “When you go back and take a look and try and track where these clusters of cases are coming from in the school, it’s just that.”