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. Trent

    So to be clear:
    It's not okay for a male and female to be "compromising positions" but it's perfectly okay for men to be "compromising positions." Hmmmm

    February 23, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  2. Caleb

    As far as following convictions, one really good example is the subject of this news report!

    February 23, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • andy

      who cares?

      February 23, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
  3. LP

    We do not have boys volleyball at most of our high schools in the midwest. Can my son join the girls team? No? Sounds like discrimination to me. Girls can play in any sport they want... boys can not. Boys are told tough luck... girls should be told the same.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Hlo

      Totally agree! Folks would have a fit if a guy played girl's volleyball and had a chance to spike on their forehead!

      February 23, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  4. JP

    “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”
    shouldn't he "respect" her desire to wrestle and give her the "dignity" that she, as a woman, is looking for?

    February 23, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Hugo

      I think you are correct. OTOH, he's a kid who hasn't been to college yet. He still has a lot to learn.

      February 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  5. lonewolf1211

    Who gives a crap about some dopey kid and a wrestling match – the world is ready to burn and this is the garbage that is front page on CNN? Way to go, CNN – always on top of the important issues.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  6. Daniel

    GO ATHEIST!!! Humans and practically any religion... ESPECIALLY those in the country that call themselves "Christian" and radical Islamic and Muslim faiths... are responsible for such a HUGE proporion of hate, violence, evil and death on this planet, it's time for the Human Race to elevate itself to a Higher State of Consciousness and get over this Religion crap. It's good for... oh maybe 6% of the people who practice.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Da King

      Jesus was not in favor of religion. Learn.

      February 24, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  7. JesusFish

    *flop* *gasp*

    February 23, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  8. Ed

    The worst thing that CNN has done is to allow people to comment on stories.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Comment Editor

      Your comment proves it!

      February 23, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Hlo

      Agreed....first time i actually scrolled down to see what people think! Wow! This is where other nations get their ideas of what Americans stand for....how about get out there and volunteer for a cause instead of gripe about articles on CNN? At least this kid is acting on his beliefs instead of pointing fingers at others! Encourage your brothers and sisters....fight the good fight, whatever you believe!

      February 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  9. JJ

    Gee, yet another christian wuss makes the news.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Wuss Master

      He is not a WUSS...just a boy that does not want to be compromised by a woman in tights.

      February 23, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Al Win

      @Wuss Master Yeah he is a wuss. Plain and simple. He rather touch other boys.

      February 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  10. Joe

    The thought of possibly losing to a girl in a state tournament? How could he face anybody after that?

    February 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  11. JesusFish

    Jesus would have wrestled her.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  12. Sidewinder

    He's saving himself...for the hot math teacher.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  13. LOL

    Really? Because those positions are less "compromising" with another guy? Sounds like he was afraid of getting beat by a girl. Either than or another perfect example of religion causing stupidity. Ha!

    February 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Sidewinder

      He may still be in the closet. Maybe he really likes touching sweaty boys?

      February 23, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  14. Mark9988

    This young man exercised his American right to uphold his religious convictions. Those who don't understand or disagree with those convictions, instead of exercising tolerance, are spewing hatred and insults at him. This has become the normal price of standing for something. Civility is lost and virtue disdained.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Civil Manners

      Your comments did not sound very civil. Go stand in a corner, NOW!

      February 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  15. jeebus

    I think he was just scared of sportin' wood.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  16. Lev

    Congratulations to Northrup's parents – super job! Northrup, what an admirable (and a common sense) position!

    February 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  17. Ilikepie :)

    First off I am a girl and Christian and most of your comments against Christians are wrong. I respect that guys choice about not fighting a girl even though I have not read anything in the Bible so far saying anything about not wrestling a girl. There is something in the Bible about not to abuse a girl and I think that is where he got it from. Amber, girls have a right to be on a wrestling team just like girls have a right to play baseball. (I wan't to play baseball.)

    February 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Baseball SCout

      You are a baseball!

      February 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  18. Caleb

    This guy has his priorities straight. He was faced with a tough decision. What is more important: one's favorite sport, or one's religion? I commend your decision, Mr. Northrup!

    February 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  19. hey joe

    girls are jsut more fragile no matter how you slice it there are physically different ----if she's in the his weight class, and she has wrestled other boys of this class, then she is his equal. Her bones are the same thickness, she must weigh about the same,. so no, THIS girl and THIS boy were equal in every way, except mental toughness. Obviously, she's tougher.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  20. TomBomb

    Christian convictions???? Since when do Christians actually follow their convictions? During the crusades? During the inquisition? Salem witch trials? Or perhaps more modern history, as we execute other human beings? fight wars for oil? And of course, in every day life as we see it all around us?

    Maybe he was just embarrassed to wrestle a girl?

    February 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Hugo

      If I call myself an alligator, does that make it true? If I call myself a Christian, does that make it true? If I call myself an atheist, does that make it true? Why do you assume that all those people participating in the Crusades (or instance) were actually Christians just because they (allegedly) professed they were?

      February 23, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
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About this blog

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.