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September 21, 2012

North Coast Softball may drop three-player rule

Cleveland--North Coast Softball, northeast Ohio’s LGBT and allied softball league, may drop a rule requiring at least three queer players on the field at all times.

The Gay Games expressly forbids such rules, and if North Coast Softball wants to be part of Gay Games 9 in Cleveland, it would need to do away with it.

However, even before receiving a response from the Gay Games, rescinding it has been a matter of discussion among board members.

“The North Coast Softball board has been discussing the removal of this rule off and on for nearly two years and the recent request by Gay Games brought the issue back to our attention,” said commissioner Jason Buffa. “We decided it was time to consider the options for this unenforceable rule.”

“While we are excited to join the Gay Games as an associate member, we would definitely have no issue turning them down if we thought this rule belonged in our league,” he continued.

Roger Brigham, an at-large Federation of Gay Games board member, noted, “A lot of people do not understand what the Gay Games are all about. One of the elements of the mission is to fight for acceptance of people of all orientations. So, for instance, in gay softball, the Gay Softball World Series limits the number of heterosexuals that can play on a team, but the Gay Games have no such restrictions.”

“Our member organizations have found that there are racist implications from restricting acceptance to those who identify as gay, and that greater, equalizing social net reactions occur when gay people can play on accepting teams with their straight friends,” Brigham continued.

Despite the presence of the rule, it was seldom enforced, according to Buffa.

“In the eight years I’ve been in this league, this rule has never been used to protest a team in spite of having many teams that ‘violate’ it on a weekly basis,” he noted. “Most of these teams have been in our league multiple years as well and we would hate to lose them because someone decides to protest them.”

“This rule removal is not official, as we are still getting feedback from the executive board of our league,” he concluded. “We will proceed with what the majority wants to do.”

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