Girls Can't Play Football: Player Sits out Game so Team Doesn't Forfeit

Michael TerrenceCorrespondent IIIOctober 13, 2011

BOULDER, CO - SEPTEMBER 18:  Katie Hnida of the University of Colorado heads off the field during the game against the University of Kansas at Folsom Field on September 18, 1999 in Boulder, Colorado. The University of Colorado won 51-17. (Photo by  Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Mina Johnson isn’t your typical student. In fact, the petite, young girl is a star athlete at her Virginia school. However, it's the sport she plays that has everyone all riled up.

Johnson is a star defensive lineman on the Southampton Academy football team. She is, in fact, the first girl to ever suit up.

Johnson registered four sacks in a game, and was gaining not only the attention and admiration of her teammates but of the entire Virginia community.

Yet, it was what Johnson didn’t do that is getting her all kinds of attention this week. In her team’s most recent game, Johnson did not take the field, instead watching from the sidelines.

The reason is quite ridiculous and primitive. The Lasker Northeast Academy from North Carolina had an issue with playing against a girl and threatened to forfeit.

So, instead of making an issue of it or threatening with litigation, the young girl decided to do what was best for the team and made the personal sacrifice of not playing.

Southampton wasn’t affected too much by not having one of their best defensive players on the field. Even without Johnson, they managed to shutout their opponent 60-0.

As if the beat down wasn’t bad enough for the boys of Lasker, Southampton wore all pink (similar to what NFL teams are doing), not only to pay tribute to breast cancer month, but to their teammate for her selfless sacrifice.

Johnson figures to stir up even more debates about girls being allowed to compete in primarily male sports, especially as her story gains traction. "There is nothing in the rule books for junior varsity football in North Carolina or Virginia that says a girl can't play," Johnson’s mother told "No one is breaking any rules by allowing her to play."

No one will ever get the controversy stirred up more than former NCAA kicker Katie Hnida, who left the University of Colorado amid accusations that she was mistreated by her coach and teammates. Hnida transferred to the University of New Mexico, where she became the first woman to ever score for an NCAA football FBS team.

Like Hnida, Johnson doesn’t seem all that interested in being an activist—she just wants to play football with her team.

"This is something you can't take away, ever, and it's me doing it," Johnson said to Tidewaternews. "My first game, I took down a 6-foot quarterback."