'Let us play!': Illinois high school athletes rally for fall sports in Chicago

Parents and players protested Saturday outside a state building in Chicago, pleading with Gov. J.B. Pritzker to lift his fall ban on some popular high school sports.

Players in jerseys and varsity jackets chanted, “Let us play!” outside the Thompson Center.

“It’s our way of escape,” said Myles Mooyoung, a senior football player at Kenwood Academy High School in Chicago. “It’s how we get scholarships.”

A rally was also held in Springfield.

In response to the coronavirus, Pritzker won’t allow games in football, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, wrestling, competitive cheer and dance. The Illinois High School Association moved football and a few other sports to spring, although the group might be having second thoughts after seeing other states play fall sports.

“We can do this safely, just like everyone else in the Midwest,” said Jaylen Brown, a football player at Wheaton Warrenville South High School.

Pritzker appears unlikely to budge.

“While parents might choose to send their children out onto the playing field, I can tell you that someone else who becomes ill because of that decision wouldn’t call that your personal choice,” the governor said Wednesday.