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'Senseless, irrational, cowardice bulls**t': HS track coach refuses to make his athletes wear masks — and says he got fired for it

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'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'

Image source: WBZ-TV video screenshot

A New Hampshire high school track coach said he was fired after staunchly refusing to make his athletes wear face masks during competitions as recommended by the state athletic association.

What are the details?

On Thursday afternoon, Bradley Keyes was still listed under "outdoor track" on Pembroke Academy's website, but he noted on his own school track website that he was fired.

"I just think people haven't pushed back, and I decided it was time to push back," he told WBZ-TV in a subsequent interview.

Keyes added to the station that he "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."

Keyes, who is not a teacher at Pembroke, told WBZ that he believes face masks on his athletes are fine when they ride a bus together but not while they're outside competing.

"I wear a mask where I have to. I'll wear a mask when I go into stores or any private business that wants me to," he added to the station. "Based on what I read, honestly I don't believe they do much good."

'Senseless, irrational, cowardice bulls**t'

Keyes explained on his website that when he heard most other schools accepted the state mask guidelines and made them requirements, he emailed Pembroke's athletic director for confirmation — and was told that indeed masks would be required for all races in all meets.

In addition, Keyes said he learned that "masks will be 'required' to be worn DURING ALL WORKOUTS on the track during training — but with a wink and nod, athletes are told they can pull them down around their chins!"

He considered quitting on the spot but then simply decided to refuse to follow the mask mandate. Keyes informed athletic director Fred Vezina of his decision in a blunt letter in which the coach called the mask requirement "senseless, irrational, cowardice bulls**t."

"I'll come straight to the point," he told Vezina. "I will not put kids on the track and tell them to run any races while wearing masks."

Keyes added to athletic director that "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."

He added that the policy is "insane" that plays on "irrational fears and going along with the sheep."

"Show me the data on infections, hospitalizations, and deaths for 14-18 year old athletes…" Keyes also wrote in his letter. "I keep hearing that we're following the science. There is no science behind these restrictions. No, this is not about protecting the athletes, or even their families, it's all about covering bureaucratic asses. I will not try to convince these kids that what's being done to them is right, fair, thoughtful, or sensible."

Keyes — who was in his fourth year as Pembroke's track coach, according to WBZ — ended his letter by saying, "Fire me if you must."

The station said it reached out to Pembroke Academy for comment but didn't received a response.

One of the school's track athletes, junior David Testerman, told WBZ he loves training with Keyes and agrees with him that wearing masks while running isn't the greatest idea.

"It gets you really tired ... it's gonna get up to 80 degrees soon, and it's gonna be really hard for us to keep doing what we live to do," Testerman noted to the station.

(H/T: The Daily Wire)

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