Players benched after wearing pink cancer awareness items with uniforms

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BUCKHOLTS, Texas (KWTX) - The small Milam County town of Buckholts was buzzing Monday after some members of the Buckholts High School six-man football team weren’t allowed to play Saturday because they refused to remove pink armbands, socks and other items they donned in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The incident happened Saturday afternoon in Oglesby, where students were celebrating Homecoming.

Some of the offending Buckholts players had to be removed from the field, parents said.

"I have been told that there were some kids who had to be escorted off the field,” Buckholts Superintendent Dirk D. Dystra said Monday.

Those who weren’t allowed to play did return to watch the game from the stands, however.

“It was a very deeply personal thing for them and you’ve got to respect them for that,” Dystra said.

The removal of the players sparked controversy and rumors that the players were kicked off the team.

Dykstra issued a letter to the community Monday in which he said that wasn’t the case.

“No students were removed from the team on Saturday,” he wrote.

The students who refused to remove pink items Saturday weren’t allowed to play, he said, to ensure the district didn’t violate University Interscholastic League rules.

The district has ordered pink-ribbon helmet decals, which the UIL allows, Dykstra said.

“Unfortunately, the pink decals did not arrive in time for Saturday’s game,” he wrote.

Because of that, and “because the coach did not have another common pink item that was approved for uniforms for the entire team, he directed the athletes to remove some individual items to avoid issues with uniform compliance,” he said.

“Those who refused to comply were not allowed to play.”

Dykstra said a disruption Saturday, and particularly one that interfered with Oglesby’s Homecoming or led to a forfeit “could have had serious UIL consequences for the school and the athletes.”

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