DETROIT – It is back to court for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on her COVID closures.
High school athletes and their parents through the group, Let Them Play Michigan, took to the state court of claims in Lansing Tuesday morning.
They want high school sports reinstated before the Feb. 21 deadline the governor announced last month.
Initially, they intended to file last week and spoke with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Thursday and Friday. However, those talks did not go anywhere.
On Tuesday, attorney Peter Ruddell went to a judge saying high school athletes are victims of age discrimination, and lost their free assembly and equal protection rights because college and the pros can play.
Ruddell says the state was interested in listening but did not budge. He wants a judge to grant an injunction.
“Community spread by student athletes based on all the science we have seen is diminished,” said Ruddell.
The State of Michigan issued a statement in response to the lawsuit.
“The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Gov. Whitmer took decisive action during the recent surge of COVID-19 cases that threatened to overrun hospitals,” read the statement.
“According to recent data from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, those actions likely prevented over 100,000 new cases and 1,960 or more deaths. As the numbers in Michigan continue to decline, and as the governor has already indicated, the administration is reviewing current mitigation measures, including those around contact sports.”
But the state’s stance is baffling to Ruddell citing morning in school physical education classes.
“We’ve got an hour basketball game probably occurring right now in a physical education class somewhere in this state, but yet the state athlete at 3 p.m. can’t play basketball. I don’t understand the science or data behind that,” he said.