Does the Bible prohibit shorts in basketball?

January 29, 2009 in Basketball, Religion by pacejmiller

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.