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Bundy’s Refusal to Wear Mask Cancels Caldwell/Emmett Football Game
Ammon Bundy refused to wear a mask on Caldwell school property, forcing school officials to cancel Friday's game against Emmett
Published: 10/2/2020 11:09:09 PM

In a year already crowded with the unpredictable, yet another curveball was thrown at Idaho high school sports Friday night. 

Ammon Bundy refused to wear a mask at the Caldwell High School football field in the Cougars' game against the Huskies. School officials repeatedly told Bundy to wear a mask and social distance, threatening the game’s cancellation if he refused. 

Refuse he did, resulting in a 35-0 Emmett win after only two quarters.

“The people who really lost out on this are the kids,” Caldwell Head Coach Steve Fleshman said. “We missed out on a whole half of football. We’re just trying to get these kids reps, get them to play.”

Fleshman said the drama ensued shortly after his team headed to the locker room for halftime. Bundy, who had been standing outside the fenceline of the Caldwell school, had been arguing with Caldwell police, Emmett Head Coach Rich Hargritt and Caldwell school officials. According to KTVB, Bundy had been denied entry to the stands for not wearing a mask. 

According to the Idaho Statesman, police reported that multiple unidentified callers had made threats of violence against the school not long after. Fleshman said schools officials told him and his team to shelter in place inside the locker room during halftime. Then, he was instructed to transport his players off the campus "as soon as possible."

"Kids should not have to be made a part of a political agenda," Head Coach Rich Hargritt. "Both teams and coaching staffs handled this with a lot of class and a lot of dignity tonight."

Hargritt, who said Friday's could potentially be rescheduled, lamented the fact both teams were robbed of a chance to play in an already shortened season. Hargritt did say he thinks a continuation of the game was unlikely, due to such a large lead by the Huskies at halftime. 

"There are several of those young men from Emmett who got to play only two plays, one play, zero plays," he said. "They can't get that back. To have an adult come out and make this selfishly about them, that's very disappointing. I'm going to coach more football games, but these young people have a limited amount of opportunities to do this, and they were robbed of that."

According to Fleshman, Bundy argued it was his “constitutional right” to not wear a mask while on school grounds. Fleshman said Caldwell required all attendees of athletic events to wear a mask and socially distance.

According to reporting by KTVB, Caldwell’s principal and athletic director asked police to arrest Bundy for trespassing, but they refused, claiming he did not seem to be causing serious harm. 

Bundy, a controversial figure in Idaho, was arrested earlier this year at the Idaho State Capitol. 

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