The Huntsville Stars, the Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, had the most-talked-about promo in minor league baseball for a few days. They were going to raffle off guns as part of their "Second Amendment Night" on Wednesday.
Like anything in this country having to do with guns, public opinion on the promo was divided. Guns weren't actually to be given away at the ballpark, just gift certificates that winners could exchange for their prize after passing a background check. That was still enough, however, for many people to object.
On Monday, the Stars said there were canceling the gun raffle, news first reported by Nick Lough of WAAF-TV in Huntsville. Lough notes that The Stars consulted with the Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball before canceling the gun raffle.
Stars general manager Buck Rogers then told The Huntsville Times:
"It's in the best interest of baseball. We're part of a larger organization and we have to uphold the game of baseball. It comes before everything we do. Some teams do crazy promotions and fund-raising and we do that too. We're still going to continue to have promotions and things to bring family entertainment to Huntsville."
As you might imagine, the Stars backing down didn't go over with people who were in favor of the gun raffle:
Huntsville Stars are an embarrassment to baseball and the city of Huntsville.
— Stephen Payne (@slp0014) July 1, 2013
— Gil M (@QuestionPower) July 1, 2013
When asked about caving to pressure, Rogers told Lough:
"If you bought a ticket for a Stars game thinking this was going to be part of a raffle, I'll buy your ticket back. I'll cheerfully refund your money if that's why you were coming out. But, it's Second Amendment night and we're still going to continue with plans for the educational portion."
The Stars will still be giving way copies of the Declaration of Independence and talking about the U.S. Constitution at the game. Last week when discussing the promo idea with The Times, Rogers invoked current events:
"One of the hot button issues right now is the Second Amendment that everybody's running from. We're not touching base on First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, abortion or any of that type of stuff. A lot of stuff makes people uncomfortable.
"Maybe it's time Americans basically said, 'Hey, what's going on? What's wrong with this? Day in and day out, people's rights are being taken away. The government is spying. We've got phone companies selling our information - the whole nine yards."
One gun-related aspect of "Second Amendment Night" will go on. Members of the National Rifle Association get free entry to the game. They'll have to, however, leave their actual guns at home.
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