The Charlottesville (Va.) Cavaliers made it all the way to the finals of the National Travel Basketball Association’s annual tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C., this weekend, but their run ended abruptly because one of their teammates apparently wasn’t playing by the rules.
And it simply was because she was a girl.
The Cavaliers were disqualified from the tournament when officials somehow just noticed after five games that 10-year-old Kymora Johnson shouldn’t have been playing. Kymora had played with the Cavs since she was 5 and had played in the past two tournaments with them, but apparently, the NTBA changed the rules this year.
“I can’t believe this is 2015, and my daughter isn’t allowed to play with boys,” Kymora’s mother, Jessica Thomas-Johnson, told The Washington Post. “What message does this send to other girls? What message does it send to boys?”
Another team also was disqualified for having a girl, despite the fact both girls — and everyone else — had to check in with officials, show their birth certificates and undergo an interview process before the tournament’s start.
“Kymora had her hair down,” Thomas-Johnson said. “She had a headband on. She had hot pink nail polish on her nails. They knew she was a girl.”
NTBA president claims the new rule was made clear and that the Cavs weren’t disqualified earlier because officials only saw Kymora on the bench. However, Kymora did play and even scored some points.
“We have no problem with the girls sitting on the bench,” Whitley told The Daily Progress in Charlottesville. “We don’t care who sits on the bench with the teams, that goes for anybody … to sit on the bench.”
Kymora tried to get the officials to only disqualify her and to allow the rest of her team to play, but it was too late. But when the finals came around, the rest of Kymora’s team wore pink uniforms and stood with her on the sidelines.
“They were nice and supportive,” Kymora told The Post. “They were all, like, ‘It’s not your fault!’”
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@HuffPostSports