'It Was Time to Push Back': Track Coach Refuses to Make Sprinting Kids Mask up, So the School Fires Him

For those who love Halloween, the pandemic’s surely been a biting bummer: The world’s finally wearing masks, but they aren’t the cool kind.

Another group likely let down: those trying to exercise with their breathing holes draped.


Apropos, a high school track and field coach recently deduced masks aren’t awfully effective athletic aids.

Additionally, he decided they don’t serve a positive purpose while racing.

In fact, the man refused to enforce a mandate.

For runners.


Hence, Bradley Keyes — 4 years into his job at Pembroke Academy — was fired.

As reported by Boston’s CBS4, officials had a virus-fighting vision for teenagers hightailing it:

[Bradley] said the school informed him that athletes would be required to wear masks during all races and the majority of field events during the upcoming spring season.

The rules came courtesy of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Bradley asked his employer whether the policy was absolute, and he was notified that all schools in competition had agreed to it.

In a Saturday blog post, he encouraged people to complain to the school about the edict.

Additionally, he shared an email he sent Pembroke Athletic Director Fred Vezina.

It began thusly:

“I’ll come straight to the point. I will not put kids on the track and tell them to run any races while wearing masks.”



“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. … These insane policies are robbing kids of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for no valid reason other than irrational fears and going along with the sheep.”

He concluded with quite the closer:

“Fire me if you must.”

Per Channel 4, fast-forward to something must-y:

On Monday, [Brandon] posted a new blog entry, saying “I have been fired. I am not surprised. I made my choice to speak out. They made theirs.”

The canned coach attempted a socking of senselessness:

“One of the fundamental parts of all of this is learning to play by the rules. The rules supposedly put in place in order to create a fair and level playing field, to let everyone know what is expected and allowed, and then to let the best man, woman, or team win. Except now we are adding arbitrary, senseless, ill-thought rules.”

To Brandon, the whole thing’s criminal:

“The real crime in this situation [is] undermining one of the cornerstones of high school sports and the lessons we hope to teach these young adults. I won’t be a part of that.”

As relayed to the station, track team member David Testerman’s pretty much Team Bradley:

“[Wearing a mask] gets you really tired, especially when it gets up to 80 degrees soon, and it’s going to be really hard for us to keep doing what we live to do.”


The coach explained he wears a mask in stores, and he believes it’s okay for the team while riding the bus.

But out on the track? He’s a fan of the fully-viewable face:

“I 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.”

In his view, it was time to take action:

“I just think people haven’t pushed back, and I decided it was time to push back.”

The school, as it turned out, took the opportunity to push harder.

Oh, and Bradley had a few more words to describe the situation:

“Senseless, irrational, cowardice bulls—-.”



See more pieces from me:

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Find all my RedState work here.

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