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Does the Bible prohibit shorts in basketball? January 29, 2009

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, Religion.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

And you thought your basketball shorts were long

Basketball shorts are getting ridiculously long these days.  But then again, who would want to go back to the days when you couldn’t distinguish them from your sister’s bike pants?  Don’t answer that.

basketball-pantsA friend of mine alerted me to this ESPN Page 2 Article about Christian high schools in America that play their basketball games in long pants (there’s a video of this at the site) – not because they’re trying to take long shorts to a whole new level – but because of what the Bible says.

According to the school’s principal, the Bible tells people to dress in moderate apparel, and that translates to long basketball pants and T-shirts under singlets.  But when pressed by the reporter as to the specific verse that addresses this, the principal said: “There is, but I’d have to look it up — I don’t have it handy, but it’s definitely in Scripture. And I don’t know if you know this, but our girls’ basketball team dresses in skirts.”  The girls do this because the Bible says that “there should be a separate distinction between a man and a woman in terms of their apparel”.  Further, the cheerleaders also have to wear long skirts.

Is this a matter of interpretation of the Bible going a little too far?  Does anyone know what the actual verse says?  What about the requirement that visiting teams also have to wear pants (because apparently some schools have this rule)?

My personal experience

I’ve played against guys in jeans; guys in bare feet, in leather shoes, slippers.  I’ve even played against this guy who refused to take off his beanie in 35 degree (Celsius) heat.  That was amusing.

There was another guy who refused to take off his jacket – one of those thick ones you see in the snow – in similar temperatures.  That was disturbing.

The worst, however, was playing against guys who take off their shirts – in particular flabby ones that sweat profusely (with bad B.O.) and love to post up.  No one wants to guard those guys because it’s like being in a orgy with stinky whales.

But none of those things occurred in game situations, of course.  But it makes me wonder – to what extent can you use religion to bend dress codes in organised sports?  What if each of the aforementioned attires were prescribed by religions?  How far would freedom of religion go in such situations?

You can make the argument that it does not matter what you wear as long as you do not put your opponent at a competitive disadvantage – but then that would begin to blur the lines a little bit.  I’m sure there are cases about this.  Might ask my law lecturer when we get to the topic on freedom of religion.


1. Matthew Ho - January 29, 2009

I agree, its taking the interpretation of the bible too far. in fact, i dont think i’ve ever come across such a bible verse in my life. I think some people go to the extremes when adhering to religious dogma or literal interpretations of antiquated teachings.

I don’t have a problem with my opponent wearing pants and tshirt playing ball, that just means he will sweat more profusely, restrict his movement and slow him down. But there are plenty of examples of people wearing their religions/cultures on their sleeve when playing sport. An example is cricket where Monty Panesar would wear a turban while bowling. There’s a Lebanese team in my basketball comp, and the guys are predominantly muslim and one of them wears a black skull cap. Or Muslims fasting during Ramadan e.g. Hakeem Olajuwon during the NBA season.

The exercise of freedom of religion must be balanced with the notion of having a certain standard of dress & adhering to rules and regulation. I would hope to think that in today’s society, we would have the understanding and tolerance to allow people to exercise their religion and to be flexible where such circumstances arise. No one one should be prevented from exercising such freedoms when playing sport, in schools or in the workplace.

But……. I draw the lines at overweight guys w/o shirts backing me down in the post with bad B.O.

2. n elwood - February 4, 2009

Yes, we have all become pc in terms of race and religion but now it’s time to bash the fatties.

3. Matthew Ho - February 5, 2009

@ n elwood – LOL

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