Did a local University sports coach cross the line? The National Rifle Association think so. And so does the student at Palm Beach Atlantic University who said his coach made him choose between playing on the Lacrosse team and posting pictures of guns on social media.
You can tell by his Instagram profile that Lacrosse is a big part of Zach Scholl’s life.
“I was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. It’s a way of life there,” he said.
Scholl is very passionate about hunting and guns.
“I grew up hunting. My dad taught me. I come from a family full of military history and law enforcement history, so it’s something that has been very important to me ever since I was a little kid,” he said.
But Scholl never thought he’d have to choose one over the other. He was on the Lacrosse team at Palm Beach Atlantic University for three seasons and about a month and a half ago he said his coach sent him this text:
“You want to play lacrosse for PBA [Palm Beach Atlantic University], you won’t post pics of your guns and stuff. That’s simple. You want to continue to post this – you don’t play,” Scholl showed WPTV the screenshot of the June 27 text from his coach.
Scholl said the text was an ultimatum.
“For me it was choose the values that I was raised with or adopt someone else’s,” said Scholl.
He showed WPTV his response.
"With all due respect, as a citizen of this country I have a second amendment right to keep and bear arms and a first amendment right to post the pictures of my firearms and photos from my hunts on my various social media accounts. These are my rights as a US citizen and I'm not going to throw them away just to play ball under you. As much as I love the sport it is not worth it to me to surrender. So thank you for the opportunity, but someone else will have to be wearing #40 this year."
On a podcast, Scholl shared that his story is serving as a bigger lesson to students everywhere. And the NRA agrees.
“There’s absolutely no reason they should be discriminated against for law-abiding, non-threatening behavior,” said Amy Hunter, NRA Institute for Legislative Action.
Scholl made a complaint to the university and PBA responded in a letter, saying Scholl did not violate any student policy. The letter says PBA does not have “any policy abridging student rights to post firearms related content on their individual social media accounts.”
The university did not say if it has opened an investigation as a result of the complaint, but did release a statement.
“As a Christian University, PBA strongly supports our Constitutional Republic, the U.S. Constitution and all individual rights protected under the Bill of Rights; especially freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the right to bear arms,” said Becky Peeling, Associate Vice President for University Relations and Marketing.
Scholl said he does not know if he will still get to play on the Lacrosse team.
Examples of some of the photos Scholl posted are below.