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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. TJ

    I Corinthians 7:1: "...It is good for a man not to touch a woman."

    February 23, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • George

      But what about another man?

      February 23, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • Dave

      what if he was scheduled to wrestle Ann Coulter?

      February 23, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • bugdad

      Ann Coulter carries a switch-blade.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • George

      Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • LTB

      ...and if we all adhered to this rule the human population would have died out thousands of years ago.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  2. Padmanabham

    Fighting has been among equals . Thats one of the rules of just war. In the absence of fighting, contact sports became popular and media took it to greater heights. His denial to fight is his option and also paid the price for it.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Olympics are weird

      Maybe he didn't want to wrestle that Chinese woman in the Olympics who liked to put her finger in other people's corn holes..

      February 23, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • George

      "... rules of just war ..." Hmm; isn't the phrase "just war" an oxymoron? Perhaps not in ancient times, but by today's reasoning, I seldom find "war" to be "just".

      February 23, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  3. Valerie Webster

    Wow! I completely respect the young lady's right to want to wrestle on the high school team. However, I hope she respects and appreciates this young man's choice of NOT groping her and tossing her around like a rag doll. Young men like him are so rare. Older men like him are even rarer. A man who respects a woman and her person - there is yet hope for the world!

    Thank you young Jamie! And thank you to your wonderful parents for raising such a wonderful young man! I really do wish there were more of you. Good men are greatly needed.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  4. Karen

    Use any logic you want, just not the "GOD" card.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Dave in Dallas

      Agree with the young man's decision and admire his conviction. The religious angle is relevant to him, but this stands without a religious angle IMO.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • JCinTX

      So if a believer makes his own choice based on his own faith, that is somehow invalid and unacceptable to you? Talk about tolerance....

      February 23, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  5. Dickenson

    There is but one word to describe the boy's action.
    P _ _ _ Y.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  6. steve

    I worked with a guy that turned down a promotion because he would have been trained by a woman. So this stupid sh1t goes on all the time with religiously challenged people.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • JCinTX

      And you see these two scenarios as similar??

      February 23, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  7. eddieeagle

    I respect this young man's decision, and I also respect the young ladies' accomplishments and her right to compete. The boy is willing to take the loss for his beliefs, and the girl is willing to advance until someone eliminates her on the mat. Sounds like a couple of terrific people to me.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  8. BeGentle

    Comforting to know that the dad of this boy wrestler is OK with groping other boys but heaven's to Bestsy not a girl. Yuck!

    February 23, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  9. Commoncents

    The comments criticizing this young man are shocking and appalling. Here's a young man raised to treat women with respect, and he's being condemned as some sort of chauvanist or weakling afriad to wrestle a girl. You people are such idiots. As a father of a teenage girl myself who has observed consistent disrespectful conversation and behavior of many of her male peers, I would love to have my girl date this young man. Let the girls wrestle girls, boys boys. And stand up for the good guys, jeez people, what' wrong with you?

    February 23, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  10. Claud

    I've read some posts that ask "why is this anyone's business?"
    That's a good question. Why did the media jump all over this to the point where the boy felt the need to make a public explanation of a simple decision?
    If it was me, I would have declined for a whole host of reasons and it still wouldn't be anyone else's business.
    But these media types are hungry, I guess, for anything they can get their hands on. Quality reporting is pretty rare unless the news writes itself.
    With that said, I wish the kid well. He's gonna need it after all this nonsense.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  11. Mars

    chicks are good for two things, having s3x and making sandwichs

    February 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • JCinTX

      I always tell my husband he's good for two things: getting stuff off upper shelves and opening jars. 🙂

      February 23, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  12. Paul Ronco

    Well that settles it then. All Christians should be firmly opposed to women serving in the infantry.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Dan

      you do realize that women aren't allowed in positions of combat right?

      February 23, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  13. Kate

    Why does this boy for a moment think that he would be doing violence? Maybe he would be getting his *** handed to him by the girl. They're both about 100 pounds. Some girls could snap him in two.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  14. Catloaf

    ... "consistent with our Christian convictions." Of what... intolerance?!

    February 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • JCinTX

      I never understand why people who hate believers get on a belief blog. But they are attracted to it like moths to a flame.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  15. Klaark

    Sure, you could go the God route, or you could point at that if you "win" that fight, you've beaten up a girl, and if you lose, you got beat up by a girl. You can't win.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • JCinTX

      This is funny. 🙂

      February 23, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  16. Commoncents

    The comments criticizing this young man are shocking and appalling. Here's a young man raised to treat women with respect, and he's being condemned as some sort of chauvanist or weakling afriad to wrestle a girl. You people are such idiots. As a father of a teenage girl myself who has observed consistent disrespectful conversation and behavior of many of her male peers, I would love to have my girl date this young man. Let the girls wrestle girls, boys boys. And stand up for the good guys, jeez people, what' wrong with you?

    February 23, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  17. Zorua dude

    Nice to see that chivalry isn't dead.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Rose

      AMEN. I commend this young man and his parents.

      February 23, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  18. Mr. Davidson

    Next he ruins he life by roughing her up,does she want to play tackle football ,hardball ,mens tennis no. The entire world accepts mens and womens sports ,for obviously reason this will never change get over it,counseling is always better than a life sustaining injury. And last but not least we did not bully our sisters and get away with it ,its called abuse.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
  19. chillyindy

    Good for this kid. We should be so lucky to have more people like him in this country – our moral compass is so out of whack right now.

    February 23, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • gsk

      @chillyindy: Well said! Cant believe how so many negative comments appear on this. The kid simply did the right thing! How could the organizers think of getting girls to fight boys... it is absurd.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  20. Sardukar

    No no man..you got it wrong these are the positions you want to do with a girl..

    February 23, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • plebatoid

      Right, so these compromising positions are not ok with a girl, but he does not have a problem doing them with a male. Hope he is not too religious, I hear they don't approve of that too much either!!

      February 23, 2011 at 10:55 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.