Anti-government activist Ammon Bundy was the reason an Idaho football game stopped at halftime Friday evening after he repeatedly refused to put on a mask after school officials asked him to, according to reports. Bundy wanted to watch his son, a linebacker for the visiting Emmett High School Huskies, against the Caldwell Cougars, but he allegedly dismissed any requests for him to put on his face covering.
Bundy was denied entrance into the stadium when he refused to follow Caldwell's coronavirus masking policy, NBC reported. He was later found, again maskless, watching the game from the field's parking lot which was on campus ground but outside of the stadium. When Bundy was asked to leave he once again allegedly refused to, the report said.
At halftime, Caldwell administrators stopped the game, with Emmett up 35-0, saying a "threat to the safety of the school was made," district spokeswoman Allison Westfall wrote to parents in an email that was also provided to the Idaho Statesman.
Canyon County dispatch began receiving multiple calls from unidentified callers threatening acts of violence at the game stemming from the dispute over masks,” Joey Hoadley, the Caldwell Police Department spokesman clarified Saturday morning, “at which time the decision was made to cancel the game for the safety of students and fans."
District rules require only a limited number of family members and fans can attend each game –- and everyone is mandated to wear masks and adhere to social distancing rules, Marisela Pesina, the chair of Caldwell School Board, told the Idaho Statesman.
The school's principal requested Caldwell police arrest him for trespassing on school grounds. but officers refused to arrest Bundy, saying he "wasn't out of control and didn't appear to be a threat to anybody," CBS19 reported. Police would not physically remove Bundy from the property and instead filed a report and passed it along to the Canyon County Prosecutor, CBS said.
Bundy could be facing criminal charges for trespassing, Joey Hoadley, the Caldwell Police Department spokesman, told the outlet.
“A small group of visitors refused to follow the safety requirements, including wearing face coverings, and were denied admittance to the game,” Westfall wrote. “They were told they could watch from Brothers Park. Instead, they continued to loiter on the property and became disruptive.”
"We didn't demand our way in. We didn't try to force our way in," Bundy said in an interview by CBS 2 Boise, which he posted to the Bundy family's official Facebook page. "We're not jumping the fence, we're not causing any trouble. We're not even around anybody else. Just leave us alone. Just let us watch the game."
Throughout the game, Bundy live-streamed videos onto Facebook. "Unbelievable," he can be heard saying as he scans the camera across the lit football field. "They canceled the game. Well, that goes to show how far they'll go to actually enforce the policy."
"I did the right thing," Bundy continued. "I am not afraid to do what's right."
"We have a right to watch our boys play ball!" one distressed parent shouted off-camera.
"And I do too!" he responded.
"Put on a mask!" they replied.
"I will not! I have a right to not put on a mask," he said.
Emmett School District Superintendent Craig Woods called the incident “incredibly sad” for the Emmett team, high school and community.
Bundy and his entourage have made appearances at a variety of public events and meetings across Idaho in recent months in protest of the state's coronavirus regulations, according to the Statesman.