EGG HARBOR CITY, N.J., (UPI) — A New Jersey 12-year-old quit the local football team when his coach would not allow him to use the pink gloves he wore to support his cancer-afflicted mother.
Julian Connerton said he acquired a pair of pink football gloves to show support for his mother, Mayra Cruz-Connerton, who recently underwent a double mastectomy as part of her breast cancer treatment, but Egg Harbor City Crusaders Coach Paul Burgan would not allow him to wear the gloves, The Press of Atlantic City reported Tuesday.
“I took them off and I looked at my friend and he said ‘that’s messed up,'” Connerton said Monday. “So [my friend] said just to put them back on and when I put them back on, [my coach] told me to take them off again. So I said I won’t play. So I watched my team while I’m sitting on the sidelines.”
Louis Barrios, a member of the Crusaders Youth Athletic League Association’s board of directors, said Burgan did not know the reason behind Connerton’s choice of gloves.
“It was strictly a uniform situation,” he said. “No one knew that there was a personal reason why the kid wanted to wear the gloves … . The game was ready to begin in minutes, and it was a communication issue. There was a storm. It was chaotic.”
However, the boy’s mother said Burgan and other officials were aware of her condition.
“[Julian's] coach did know why he was wearing those gloves and why he wanted to wear them,” Cruz-Connerton said.
Connerton said he will return to the team if he receives a “sincere apology.”
Barrios said the league plans to apologize to the family. Burgan declined to comment on the situation, The Press said.