Publish date:

Let Them Play MN sues Walz over youth sports mask mandate

The CDC says masks may make it hard to breathe in high-intensity sports.

A mask mandate for youth sports is the reason for a new lawsuit filed this week by Let Them Play MN, an organization that believes Gov. Tim Walz's executive order is harmful to young athletes. 

“We have repeatedly asked Governor Walz and MDH to show us any data indicating wearing masks while playing youth sports, or any other of their constantly changing restrictions are necessary, or even safe," Let Them Play MN attorney Sam Diehl said in a statement. 

Deihl says Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health have refused to provide an explanation for their actions, though the Centers for Disease Control has maintained for months that mask-wearing helps slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Per the CDC, high-intensity activities that require a high level of exertion "present a higher level of risk of getting and spreading COVID-19." 

The Minnesota Department of Health's COVID-19 Sports Practice and Games Guidance for Youth and Adults says face coverings must be worn by all people at all times, with only these exceptions: 

  • Wrestling - due to choking or visual hazard
  • Gymnastics - temporarily removed if choking concerns or getting the mask caught on objects. 
  • Swim/Dive - masks not mandated while in the water. 
  • Sports with helmets - alternatives to face coverings may be used, including helmets with a full face shield that prevent splashes, sprays and aerosols from free movement. Face shields, however, must cover the entire face and extend to the ears and below the chin. 

Basketball is a high-intensity sport where masks are mandated in Minnesota, despite the CDC saying athletes participating in high-intensity sports "may not be able to wear a mask if it causes difficulty breathing. 

"Playing with a mask ain't no joke," tweeted Chet Holmgren, a basketball player from Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis who is ranked as one of the top high school seniors in the country. 

Let Them Play MN attempted to sue Walz over the stoppage of all youth sports in late 2020, but that attempt was denied by a federal judge who said reasons for the executive order at the time was satisfactory. 

Next Up

Gully Boys van stolen Twitter pic 1

Mpls. band Gully Boys' van stolen, with all their gear inside

They're asking Twin Cities residents to be on the lookout for the silver van.

ATV, all-terrain vehicle

2 girls from St. Cloud injured in ATV crash

Neither girl was wearing a helmet, the sheriff's office said.

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins has turned into a late-game killer for the Vikings

Cousins has given the Vikings a chance to tie or win the game 7 times in 6 games.

john oliver

Watch: The absurd ad 'Last Week Tonight' wrote for a MN car dealership

Host John Oliver described the commercial as a "tense domestic psychodrama."

Car driving

Minnesota is on track for the most road deaths since 2007

Minnesota has recorded 384 traffic deaths as of Oct. 14.


1 dead, 1 airlifted following Goodhue County crash

The crash happened around 6:15 a.m. Sunday.

railroad crossing, train crossing

Woman found dead on train tracks in Moorhead

The woman was located by officials on train tracks near Memorial Park Sunday morning.

police tape, crime scene

Search for killer after man is fatally shot in Hopkins

The shooting was reported around 7:40 p.m. Sunday.

skylar hunter and jamie hunter

Victims in double killing ID'd as father and son; suspect was son's roommate

A man killed his roommate and his roommate's father early Saturday in St. Louis County, authorities said.

Mike Zimmer

‘Fire Zimmer’ trending after Vikings beat Panthers

The Vikings won the game but their coach is still on the hot seat.

Screen Shot 2021-10-17 at 8.24.33 PM

NCHC condemns Huskies fans for throwing projectiles after controversial no-call

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference says that it will be reviewing both the no-call and the aftermath.


coronavirus, nurse

MN hospitals urge Gov. Tim Walz to mandate masks statewide

The MN Hospitals Association says there is a narrow window to slow the spread.

state hockey tournament, mshsl

MN health leaders want prep sports halted amid COVID-19 surge

Gov. Walz said new guidance will be released "within the next day or so."

senate mask

Republicans vote down mask mandate for MN Senate floor

Instead, they want to "strongly encourage" that people wear masks.

Tim Walz

Walz talks schools, sports, ramping up testing in Monday interview

Walz says molecular diagnostic testing could see a boost within days.