New Hampshire track coach fired after refusing to enforce an outside mask mandate for athletes

Bradley Keyes, a New Hampshire high school track and field coach, was fired after refusing to enforce a mask mandate for athletes that he called “senseless, irrational, cowardice bull***”.”

Bradley Keyes, who coached at Pembroke Academy for four years, was informed that the school would require athletes to wear masks during all races and the majority of field events during the upcoming spring season. This was due to the guidelines set by the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association. When Keyes asked the school if these guidelines requiring masks were guidance or a mandate, he was told that Pembroke and the schools it competes against agreed to adopt the mask policy. In a blog post on April 3rd, Keyes urged people to reach out to the school to let them know that they are against the policy.

Keyes also shared an email that he sent to Pembroke athletics director, Fred Vezina, that began “I’ll come straight to the point. I will not put kids on the track and tell them to run any races while wearing masks.” He continued, “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 the wind blowing and the sun shining.” Keyes later added, “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.” Keyes concluded the letter by telling Vezina “Fire me if you must.” On April 5th, Keyes posted a new blog entry announcing “I have been fired. I am not surprised. I made my choice to speak out. They made theirs.” Keyes explained that “the real crime in this situation” is “undermining one of the cornerstones of high school sports and the lessons we hope to teach these young adults. I won’t be a part of that.”

A track team member, David Testerman, expressed his concerns about running with a mask this spring. “It gets you really tired especially when it gets up to 80 degrees soon and it’s going to be really hard for us to keep doing what we live to do,” said Testerman. Despite being fired, Keyes said he has received a lot of support in an interview with WBZ-TV. Keyes stated, “I didn’t give (the school) any real choice. I backed them into a corner. What I wanted was to make a point. I was hoping the word would get out some and maybe there would be enough reaction that down the road, maybe in a few weeks or later, some of the restrictions would be changed.” He went on to say, “I just think people haven’t pushed back and I decided it was time to push back.”





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