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. violinman

    Good for him! Agree with his views, or not. At least he stuck to his values. Bravo.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  2. liza

    He has respect for women, which obviously a lot of men on this board know nothing about. A lot of women don't respect themselves, and we can hear them on this board as well, that if a man would hit another man, then he shoulod hit a woman too.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • paladin

      right on! because respecting a woman's right to be equal to a man would be wrong on so many levels. AND it reflects Christian values!!!!

      February 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • denise

      couldnt agree more. i commend this young man

      February 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  3. markiejoe

    God forbid this kid ever enters the military and gets up against the Israeil (or other) army where he may have to fight some tough women hand-to-hand or lose his life.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • carpan

      Yeah, because those two situations are real comparable. One is for sport, one is for your life.

      February 23, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  4. ocorrea

    lppd -– ur the man!!!! lololol awsome post, very true

    February 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  5. TheOracle8191

    If this family wants to try to explain away the boy's decision by way of Christianity, they might want to follow the whole of its truths and not be in wrestling at all. Wrestling IS a combat sport as they say but I wonder why they decided to skip the verse: "...If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also...". Don't try to pick and choose the parts of the Bible that best suit you.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • Jimmy


      February 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  6. pam

    I applaud him for standing up for what he believes. And just because someone has a religious belief doesnt mean they have been brainwashed it means they have made a choice to live by certain standards. Everyone should be so brain washed.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  7. ocorrea

    i have all men!!!! i wanna fight them all, but id lose

    February 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  8. TheDude

    Technically I don't think that Christianity is big on dudes groping and slamming other dudes either, but I don't see that stopping him

    February 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  9. LPPD

    I think all sports should include both genders... football, hockey, soccer... all of them! Then MEN would REALLY rule the world... sound good to all you girls that think he should have wrestled her?!

    February 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • Hockey_fan

      Nobody said this was ideal situation. IF there were all female wrestling teams in her school or around her area I bet you any money she would rather be there, but there's not and that's not her fault or problem. So she found a way to compete in a sport she likes and is obviously good at if she's in the state tournament. And lets not forget, this is how just about EVERY women's high school sport started, with girls who just wanted to play. When I was growing up girls still didn't have hockey teams in high school, but I sure knew some that still played with the boys. So until there is a time when women's wrestling becomes more popular, the girls who want to play will continue to play with the boys whether they like it or not.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  10. Jill

    i got beat all the time

    February 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  11. susanbellnc

    I agree that if a girl can handle herself with the guys, then let her wrestle, play football, whatever. I also commend this boy for going with his beliefs. In an earlier article about this, he said he respected Herkelman and the fact she wanted to wrestle, but he could not in good conscience spar with her. He hasn't said anything derogatory or some such, he's just stated his own beliefs and stands by them. Bravo to a young man with integrity. And bravo to a young woman following a dream.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • ES71

      >And bravo to a young woman following a dream.
      What is her dream exactly? Be a pro-wrestler. Wow, what a dream. Why didn't she choose some other sport? It makes no sense that she would put herself in harms way. She doesn't look strong at all. I think her motives are not as pure as you seem to believe.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  12. ocorrea


    February 23, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  13. Jill

    What he was afraid to say was this: "I'll lose." Yet, how many so-called Christians aren't afraid to physically or verbally abuse their spouses?

    February 23, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Mansur

      Just a quick question? Do you think women are physically equal? I mean when I say that...I mean are women as strong as men giving simular physical training? I say this because my fear is that he does wrestle her and is stronger and she gets really hurt...what then? And yes I am a Christian and no I have never physically abused my spouse or any other woman for that matter.

      February 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Hockey_fan

      Why are so many people making this out to sound like its her first wrestling match? She made it to the state tournament and my guess is wrestled a bunch of guys to get there. So all of these "what if he hurts her" comments are a bunch of crap, of course she could get hurt, just like everyother time she has stepped out onto the mat, but you know what SO COULD HE. When you're involved in such a physical sport you are well aware of the risks and have still chosen to participate.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Duo


      Yes, I think women can be as physically strong, determined, powerful, brutal, or anything else as men. There are small women and big women, small men and big men. A human being that wants to wrestle had better bring a body to do it. His position is like... refusing to wrestle an Asian because statistically they are smaller than caucasians... that's just wrong thinking.

      February 24, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  14. sarah p

    she looks like an alien... i would touch her!

    February 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  15. Hawkeye1012

    The Bible is very clear on the matter, when Jesus puts John in a wicked half-nelson but refuses to body slam Mary Magdelene.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  16. Jon

    Meh. Whatever. He doesn't have to wrestle anyone he doesn't want to. - Still, I'd bet she would've powned him.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Jon

      ive been beat by a woman many times....

      February 23, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  17. what the hell is a beiber anyway

    At hand was a state championship, and who knows possibly a scholarship to help pay for school, on the line. He should've manned up or at least boyed up and took this chick down! It's not like she was going to go easy on him if they did have to wrestle. Sometimes you have to just look at an opponent as just that – an opponent. Wrestle with the knowledge that they acknowledge what may happen and they are ok with it.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  18. bobby

    id kick her azz

    February 23, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  19. j

    he was affraid she might beat him and he lost to a girl grow up

    February 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  20. W. Allen

    So in effect he is saying that his christian values allow him to treat another male without respect or dignity. The real truth is what if the girl wiped the floor with him and hurt him in the process? Open your eyes people, I know babes who play co ed softball who can go with the best of males. This kid is faking on morality. I ain't buying it.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
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