• Richard Easson

California Baseball Team Suspended After Taking Yearbook Photo without Masks

A Burbank, California varsity baseball team was suspended after a photo surfaced on social media of its seniors not wearing masks.

The senior members of the John Burroughs High School varsity baseball team took yearbook photos in January to carry on a two-decade tradition. The photos organized by the moms of the eight senior players and posted to social media featured the athletes side-by-side without masks on.

The pictures quickly reached the Burbank Unified School District which ended up punishing the athletes for violating coronavirus protocols. The entire varsity baseball team was suspended from practice and drills while the seniors were suspended for two weeks.

According to Rory Freck, one of the seniors on the team, "The district and board members decided, or they tried to cancel the whole varsity season as a result of the pictures, but our athletic director and coach fought for us, and they compromised on a two-week suspension instead."

The district superintendent said in a statement, "I have decided to delay the return of athletic conditioning for the JBHS baseball team by one week so that the team can review health guidelines and safety protocols. I look forward to the team beginning conditioning on Monday, safely."

Rory’s mother said about the suspension, "I'm very disappointed that our kids are being punished for something that the moms arranged. And I understand that there are COVID protocols, but the boys were just trying to make us happy."

Another parent called the suspension “an egregious abuse of power.”

The players told ABC that they just want to put the suspensions behind them and look forward to playing baseball in their last year of high school.