According to the Sacramento Bee, hours after two California legislators unveiled a plan to outlaw tackle football until high school, angry coaches, parents and former players began mobilizing to protect America’s favorite sport from a notoriously “nanny” state government.
They created a Twitter account, SaveCaliforniaFootball, and a matching hashtag. One coach set up a meeting with a Sacramento lobbyist to learn how to engage lawmakers on bills. An online petition opposing the bill collected more than 30,000 signatures in a little over three days.
Mike Wagner, a Pop Warner official in Los Angeles and an organizer of the growing opposition campaign, described the legislation another way: “It’s completely un-American.”
Sacramento Assemblyman Kevin McCarty hasn’t even formally introduced the bill yet.
McCarty and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, both Democrats, announced their intent last week to craft legislation to establish a minimum age to play contact football, comparing their proposed government intervention in the sport to previous public health measures that mandated car seats and vaccines for children.
A California law signed in 2014 limits middle and high school teams from holding more than two full-contact practices per week. It also prevents teams from running full-contract drills and scrimmages for more than 90 minutes in a single day. Athletes who suffer concussions must complete a return-to-play protocol for at least a week under the supervision or a licensed health care provider.
The state also requires teams to immediately remove a player suspected of suffering a head injury from the field for the rest of the day and bars them from returning until they receive written clearance from a doctor.
The goal of the Legislature is clear. They they are moving in the direction of a total ban and the elimination of the sport in the state.