A local Minnesota league sparked controversy after reportedly banning a Minnesota girl’s basketball team because they are “too talented.”
On Jan. 22, The North West Suburban Basketball League allegedly told The Rogers Area Youth Basketball Association [RAYBA] girls' high school team this after they won three games in a row, the Daily Mail reports.
“The Northwest Suburban Basketball League decided RAYBA does not fit into the league," they wrote to the girls in a letter just a day before the team was about to play a tournament, according to KMSP. "The main reason they made this decision is because other teams do not want to play RAYBA due to the skill level."
Coach Jason Hanauska said he worries this will impede the girls’ talents from developing.
“If we had any talent in the league, this is where we would've found out and that's what really makes us mad,” he told KMSP.
He also explained why he believes the league banned his team.
“We found out on [Jan. 22] they were not going to be allowed because according to the league our girls were too talented," he said.
"Three teams were threatening to I guess either forfeit the games against us or flat out quit the league," he added. "So for some reason they kicked us out."
Many of the girls’ parents were angry and called the decision “absurd.”
“Do we take the (NFL’s) Patriots or Cardinals, who are going to the championship game, and kick them to the curb because they’re too good?” Sherri Palmgren, a mother of one of the players, said.
“Are we supposed to play worse just to make them happy?” one of the young team members added.
This is not the first time a girl has been excluded from a basketball tournament for controversial reasons, The Washington Post reports.
In August 2015, 10-year-old Kymora Johnson in Virginia was forbidden from playing in the National Travel Basketball Association’s National Championship tournament because she was a girl, The Washington Post reported at the time.
“What message does this send to other girls?" Johnson's mother told The Post. "What message does it send to boys?”
The mother enrolled the girl in the all-boys basketball team when she couldn’t find one for girls in her Virginia town. Johnson played for five years before the Association suddenly disqualified the girl’s team because of her gender.