NH Track Coach Fired After Refusing To Make Athletes Wear Masks During Races

A New Hampshire high school track and field coach was fired after he refused to enforce a school mask mandate during meets. WBZ-TV's Mike LaCrosse reports.

Video Transcript

PAULA EBBEN: Hampshire track coach is out of a job after making it clear that he wasn't going to make his athletes wear masks. I'm Paula Ebben.

DAVID WADE: And I'm David Wade. The former coach at Pembroke Academy says even though it cost him his job, he is not backing down from his beliefs. WBZ's Mike LaCrosse spoke with him today.

BRAD KEYES: I just think people haven't pushed back, and I decided it was time to push back.

MIKE LACROSSE: Brad Keyes was fired this week as the track and field coach at Pembroke Academy in Pembroke, New Hampshire, and he has been outspoken about it online.

BRAD KEYES: I made my choice. He made his.

MIKE LACROSSE: Keyes says he was not going to force his athletes to wear masks while competing.

BRAD KEYES: Masks restrict breathing. There's no question about it, especially think about running full speed. The wind is in your face. It's shoving the mask back into your nose and your mouth.

DAVID TESTERMAN: He's one of my favorite people to run with.

MIKE LACROSSE: Junior David Testerman agrees with his former coach and is concerned about running with a mask on this spring.

DAVID TESTERMAN: It gets you really tired, especially, you know, it's going to get up to 80 degrees soon. And it's going to be really hard for us to keep doing what we like to do.

MIKE LACROSSE: The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association's outdoor track guidelines recommend that athletes wear a face covering during competition.

BRAD KEYES: So they'll be separated by lane, which is about six feet.

MIKE LACROSSE: He says the masks are OK while the team is on the bus, but he does not think they're necessary outdoors.

Do you wear a mask yourself?

BRAD KEYES: I wear a mask where I have to. I'll wear a mask when I go into stores or any private business that wants me to. Based on what I read honestly, I don't believe they do much good.

MIKE LACROSSE: We reached out to the superintendent's office about Keyes' firing, but they did not get back to us. Reporting from Pembroke, New Hampshire, I'm Mike Lacrosse, WBZ News.

DAVID WADE: Mike, thanks.