A high school soccer game in Michigan was called off after a man was spotted on the sidelines wearing a holstered gun. There were 30 minutes left in the game when an assistant coach of the high school’s team spotted the man on the sideline. Head Coach David Hulings was informed of the man’s presence, and he relayed the information to athletics director Fred VandenBrand, who then asked the man to leave, MLive reports.
Coach Hulings explained that he was concerned about the safety of his players, and wanted to ensure that nothing was out of the ordinary by asking the man to leave.
“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,” Hulings told MLive.
Michigan law states that an individual may legally carry a holstered gun in public as long as that person is licensed by the state of Michigan or another state to carry a concealed weapon. However, there are also laws regulating the presence of firearms on private property. The soccer game was being played at Muskegon Western Michigan Christian, a private Christian school in Western Michigan, so neither party involved was necessarily in the wrong.
Hulings explained that he understood that the man could legally carry a holstered firearm, but that it was also within his power to ask the weapon-carrying man to leave.
“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,” Hulings said.
A.D. VandenBrand echoed the head coach’s statements. “I agree with our coach 100 percent. The safety of our players and students is our highest priority and our coach did the right thing in making sure our players and the fans were going to be safe before anything else. We don’t want our players on the field with someone who has a gun in the stands,” VandenBrand said.
The game ended in a 2-0 for the opposing team, Hudsonville Freedom Christian. There were 15 minutes remaining in the game when it was officially canceled.