Of­fi­cials were playing by the rules

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

As the wife of a bas­ket­ball player, com­mis­sioner, coach and of­fi­cial, I found the March 15 Sports ar­ti­cle “Af­ter playing all year, Watkins Mill girl is held out of game for wear­ing a hi­jab” mis­lead­ing.

The rule on non-uni­form ap­parel is clearly stated by the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of State High School As­so­ci­a­tions. That the coach and of­fi­cials dis­re­garded the rule and al­lowed Je’Nan Hayes to play dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son while wear­ing her head­scarf does not mean tour­na­ment of­fi­cials also should have ne­glected the reg­u­la­tion.

An ad­min­is­tra­tor with Mary­land Pub­lic Sec­ondary Schools Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion asked if the head­scarf would “cre­ate an in­her­ent risk.” Well, yes. Any loose or open cloth­ing can cre­ate a risk for the in­di­vid­ual player and oth­ers on the court. Hayes said she would have un­der­stood her in­abil­ity to play “if it was some rea­son like my shirt wasn’t the right color.” How un­for­tu­nate that she be­lieved her de­nial of playing in the tour­na­ment was be­cause of re­li­gious in­tol­er­ance.

Sta­sia Rhoads, Alexandria

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