A Michigan soccer coach, erring on the side of caution, decided to cancel a men’s high school game early when a man came to the field openly carrying a holstered gun.
According to MLive.com, the incident occurred Thursday in a game between Western Michigan Christian and Hudsonville Freedom Christian in Muskegon.
The open carrying man who was not identified was asked to leave by assistant athletics director Fred VandenBrand. He instead put his firearm in the car, according to MLive.
Still, the man returning to the stands made officials uncertain, leading them to stop the game 15 minutes before it was officially over.
“I thought it was necessary to clear the field of players and parents. It is regretful that the boys on both teams could not finish. I am sorry for the inconvenience, but I thought it best to err on the side of caution,” Western Michigan Christian coach David Hulings told MLive. “Although I personally have no objection to, and do support, his right to carry, the school also has a right under the law to ask him to leave.”
VandenBrand said an officer was called to the scene, but it’s unclear whether the gun-carrying man was questioned. VandenBrand said he told the officer that as a private school on a private field, they had the right to ask the man to leave.
“We don’t want our players on the field with someone who has a gun in the stands,” VandenBrand said, agreeing with the coach’s decision to end the game early.
According to a 2010 state police handout, there is not a law that prohibits open carrying of firearms in Michigan. There are restrictions as to where open carrying or concealed carrying of firearms is allowed, though. For example, while pistols cannot be concealed and carried onto school property, they can be holstered and openly carried.