ANDY ZMUGG & CRAIG MELLER, Peoria, Illinois
LET HER PLAY. While this is nominally a men's league, you allowed her to join and compete in previous contests: How can you bar her now?
And while the Lions' concern for her safety might be well meant, that's a matter for her to decide.
Next, you must clarify the rules for the future. In doing so, be wary of men's eagerness to protect women, something that can be used to restrict women's activities. Furthermore, you should not invoke religious strictures to regulate a secular pursuit in a community of many faiths.
There are legitimate reasons for considering gender in sports as it relates to physical factors like size, strength, and speedbut not to ideology. And it's fine to try to create conditions for well-balanced contests. But women should have a chance to participate in a more competitive league if they choosefemale golfers in men's P.G.A. tournaments for example.
UPDATE: The woman agreed to sit out that one game. But the conflict reappeared when the same teams were to meet in the league playoffs.
The team with the female player defended her right to compete; the Lions objected. The league responded by matching each team against a different team in place of a championship game.
Going forward, the rules will define this as an "adult league" open to men and women. The Lions will probably withdraw.
(The New York Times Upfront, Vol. 142, April 5, 2010)