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February 23rd, 2011
03:45 PM ET

Wrestler who refused to grapple with girl explains decision

The high school wrestler in Iowa who forfeited a match against a girl in a state tournament last week says he objected both to "compromising" positions that such a match could entail and to the idea of inflicting violence on a girl.

“Wrestling is a combat sport, and at times it gets violent, and you get put in moves and holds that are comprising,” said Joel Northrup, a sophomore. “I just don’t believe it's right that a boy and a girl should, in this manner, wrestle.”

Northrup’s dad, Jamie, said that the decision to forfeit was his son’s alone but that it reflected the family’s Christian convictions.

“Even though there’s no specific Scripture that addresses wrestling with girls, there is the biblical Christian principle of treating women with respect and dignity,” Jamie Northrup said, “and not looking at them as objects to be defeated on the wrestling mat to be, in some cases, groped or slammed.”

Joel Northrup, of Linn-Mar, forfeited a match Thursday to Cassy Herkelman, a freshman from Cedar Falls, who then advanced by default.

Both Northrup and Herkelman lost subsequent matches and were eliminated from the tournament before the finals.

But Northrup said Wednesday that he would forfeit a match against a girl even if it meant giving up a state championship.

“I would give up the chance," he said. "I wouldn’t wrestle a girl, whether it’s finals or any other meet or districts.”

Northrup said female wrestlers should face other girls.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Sports • United States

soundoff (1,396 Responses)
  1. joe

    Is Christianity supporting gay kids now? Unless she was fat, I fail to see the problem.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Northview

      What?

      February 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Truth

      what are you talking about???

      February 23, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
  2. ROXIE

    Well girls, if you are having trouble finding a reasonably decent guy to date like most of us are, why not wrestle one? Could get interesting.....Lol.

    February 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • oneStarman

      Best Two out of Three Falls Roxie?

      February 23, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  3. Starman

    I have to agree with the kid, Crazy Christian babble reason aside.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  4. jj

    I understand were he's coming from in his choice, but this is a close contact sport she obviously knew that coming in, as long he remained professional there should be no problem.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  5. JPC

    You're a winner Joel. God bless you.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  6. Petey

    A gentleman does not fight a lady.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  7. not for nothing

    Brovo young man. God bless you for your moral decision. You have great values

    February 23, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  8. Tony

    Men can't plan on women team sports can they??? Why should they be allowed to play on men's team. This equality crap is getting out of hand.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  9. RS

    Come on man .....think of it this way ...if she has the BALLS to be on the mat then wrestle her like she has BALLS...on a few acations i had to wrestle a gril ..and once i had to beat on to win a tortamite for my weight class but i dont give up...and this religus stuf is a load of crap....when ur on the mat ...ur not back or wight, male or female, big or small, Muslim, catholic or Jew, UR A WRESTLER!!! so act like one!!!

    February 23, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  10. mrrror

    The kid is a coward and was obviously afraid of losing to a girl. The irony is that he'll probably beat his wife when he gets himself one.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  11. Steve

    How refreshing that there are still real men out there who aren't afraid to state their beliefs and stand by them – even when it works against them. He displays more maturity and integrity than those who choose to make fun of his decision.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • angrycandy

      Although some people respect others for simply having an opinion, unfortunately, the said content of opinion is not relevant. These authoritarian-styled opportunists are typically found in organizations which embody a sharply delineated command structure.

      These posers always want to know two things; who they are allowed to denigrate and who they are required to worship.

      February 23, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • angrycandy

      Although some people respect others for simply having an opinion ( I'm looking at you, ed) unfortunately, the said content of opinion is not relevant. These authoritarian-styled opportunists are typically found in organizations which embody a sharply delineated command structure.

      These posers want to know two things; who they are allowed to denigrate and who they are required to worship.

      February 23, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • angrycandy

      Although
      some people respect others for simply having an opinion ( I'm looking
      at you, ed) unfortunately, the said content of opinion is not relevant.
      These authoritarian-styled opportunists are typically found in
      organizations which embody a sharply delineated command structure.
      These posers want to know two things; who they are allowed to denigrate
      and who they are required to worship.

      February 23, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • angrycandy

      Although
      some people respect others for simply having an opinion ( I'm looking
      at you, ed) unfortunately, the said content of opinion is not relevant.
      These authoritarian-styled opportunists are typically found in
      organizations which embody a sharply delineated command structure.
      These posers want to know two things and only two things ; who they are allowed to denigrate
      and who they are required to worship.

      They can handle things from there.

      February 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  12. mft

    My son is also in wrestling and when he had to wrestle a girl his own weight group, he had a tough time. He said he was confused as to where he could not grope or what not. He ended up losing because he was at a loss with the dos and don'ts.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  13. Jobu

    Chuck Norris would have broken both of them in half on the mat!

    February 23, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • oneStarman

      Not if they were in a proper Sports bra

      February 23, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  14. Ron

    The Bible mentions the Israelites slaughtering women and children [under the instruction of Yahweh] and he's worried about wrestling?

    February 23, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Lee

      Ron – Great point!

      February 23, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Truth

      Read the whole book. Don't start taking bits and pieces just to support your groundless argument.

      February 23, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Truth

      Truth – Better point!

      February 23, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Fichts

      Yeah, no. That isn't a misrepresentation of the Bible, Truth. There's no absolving: Go and slaughter all, even suckling infants and then saying: Yeah, all that barbarism in the earlier years? Disregard last command. =D

      February 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Lee

      "Truth" – Next time you might want to remember to change your name when you're pretending that you are someone else who supports your ignorant comment.

      February 23, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  15. brt

    I think it can be summed up both comically and seriously in 2 words : unwelcome erection.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • oneStarman

      Can you say "Pinned to the Mat"

      February 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  16. Matt McClendon

    So, let me get this straight... it's OK to treat your fellow "man" with disrespect by "groping and slamming/"

    February 23, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
  17. Sandra

    I don't think he had anything to do with 'religious values' or compromising positions. If it had been the positions that bothered him, his religion would make him not wrestle males, seeing as the compromising positions two boys get into! He just didn't want to get his butt whupped by a girl.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  18. oneStarman

    IT IS A DIFFICULT POSITION – Should there BE no Men's and Women's Sports – just Sports? I don't think that would be fair as – in most areas – Women would be Under Represented. Should we forgo Men's and Women's Restrooms and Locker Rooms and just act like mature individuals and not snickering adolescents? its POSSIBLE but is it Practical? (ps CENSORS – get a DICTIONARY)

    February 23, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Jon

      I think your views are misguided. Girls and boys play softball,baseball, hockey, basketball, but should not play full contact sports. He has a right to his faith. And if people do not understand maybe it's because they do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

      February 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  19. Hank

    He just didn't want to get his butt kicked by a girl....

    February 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • oneStarman

      Perhaps it wasn't HIS butt that had him in a Lather

      February 23, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Cdawg

      She would've gotten him in a berry good hold and then pennid him. She wood have broken his bone.

      February 23, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  20. Bro G

    What does being Christian have to do with two athletic young people competing in sports? Seems misguided. I hope the young man made his choice for principles he really believes. How insulting for a young woman who obviously has athletic talent to be refused the contest of sportsmanship. I hope both kids are OK with this.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • Bob

      one is male one is female. they aren't 2 young people in sports. BIG difference

      February 23, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Truth

      It's not just 'two athletes' competing. It's a boy wrestling a girl on a mat. Don't you get it!!??

      February 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.