Black Live Matter message trumps the rules

What is it about swimming and wokeness lately? First, we have a biological man competing (and breaking records) in women’s college swimming events. Now, a 12-year-old Duluth swimmer shows up to a swim meet with ‘Black Lives Matter’ emblazoned on her swimsuit and all heck breaks loose.

Leidy Lyons was upset about the shooting death of Amir Locke and wanted to do something about it, so she added the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ to her swimsuit before an official USA Swim meet in Superior on Feb. 6, 2022. An official swim meet means there were teams, coaches, timers, officials, and of course, rules. Since the meet was sponsored by USA Swimming, their rules applied.

Rule 102.8.3 clearly states that political statements aren’t allowed on swimwear. When a volunteer rules official told Ms. Lyons she could not compete with a political statement on her swimsuit, it set in motion a series of events all too familiar in woke America circa 2022.

YMCA officials (hosting the event) overturned the official’s ruling, kicked her out of the building, banned her from future swim meets and probably sent her to a re-education camp somewhere on the North Shore.

Duluth NAACP chapter president Classie Dudley was called in and rushed to the scene to stick up for this swimmer’s First Amendment rights. American Experiment followers may remember a different interpretation of the Constitution from Dudley when she bullied venues in Duluth from hosting a presentation on Critical Race Theory last summer.  

Dudley told the press the Black Lives Matter message was “…a humanitarian issue. It’s not political. It’s human. It’s humanizing something.” She lamented that Lyons had to endure this trauma and pointed out that she was one of the few black people at the swim meet. She called it a teaching moment for the community.

The YMCA quickly put out a statement that this volunteer official’s systemic racism would not be tolerated:

The Duluth YMCA is saddened that the student, their family, and teammates had to endure this unacceptable behavior. The Duluth YMCA will continue our ongoing commitment to train all staff and volunteers on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Duluth Area Family YMCA is committed to being an anti-racist organization and stands with BIPOC communities throughout the Northland and throughout our country. We know that Black Lives Matter and we will continue to work to educate ourselves, to stand against inequality, and to strive to be active allies in the ongoing fight for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Duluth YMCA will work to hold independent officials accountable for further education to address systemic racism. The official is not associated with the Duluth YMCA and will be banned from any further Duluth YMCA hosted swim meets.

The Duluth School District weighed in with their own statement:

Basketball star LeBron James even got in on the act through his Instagram account, saying “Leidy, you’re a Beautiful Black Queen, keep going and keep inspiring.”

That escalated fast, as the kids say.

To return to the original event, a swimmer at an official USA Swimming event clearly violated the rules with a political statement on her suit and was not allowed to compete. Organizers and sympathizers claimed ‘Black Lives Matter’ is not a political statement covered by the rule and the official was practicing systemic racism for pointing it out.

Absurd. Applying the rules equally to all swimmers is not systemic racism.

Black Lives Matter is unequivocally a political statement. In fact, it’s a political movement encompassing a range of issues from police reform to Critical Race Theory being debated at city halls, state legislatures and the halls of Congress.

If Black Lives Matter does not violate Rule 102.8.3, how about All Lives Matter, or even Blue Lives Matter? What if a swimmer showed up next week with a suit that said Abortion is Murder? Do you think the YMCA would let them compete and apologize for causing the swimmer unnecessary trauma?

The lesson for all the young swimmers at the Feb. 6 meet is that rules don’t matter if the people in control agree with your speech. While it may have worked out well for Ms. Lyons this time, a selective application of rules based on the content of speech will harm all of us in the long run.