Pennsylvania youth football league to cancel games after threats

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 14, 2015 4:20 PM

By David DeKok

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - Pennsylvania police have launched an investigation after bullets inscribed with the names of a youth football league's officers were found near a playing field, leading to the cancellation of the rest of its season, authorities said on Wednesday.

The Mount Pleasant Area Junior Football League called off all remaining games after bullets with the names written on them with a marker were found near the entrance to Hurst Field in Norvelt, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

“We are looking at why they are there and who put them there,” Trooper Steve Limani, a spokesman at the Pennsylvania State Police's Greensburg barracks, told Reuters.

It was not the first threat made against officers of the league, according to Rob Whipkey, an administrator for the Donegal Browns, one of the teams in the league.

Rick Albright, the league president, could not be reached for comment Wednesday but released a statement urging parents to accept the decision to cut short the season and cooperate in bringing those responsible to justice.

Whipkey said several games were canceled earlier in the season after threats against officers were received, but Whipkey could not say what the nature of the threats were.

“It’s been pretty hush-hush among the board members,” he told Reuters.

The league serves about 150 boys between second and eighth grades, plus about 50 girls who participate as cheerleaders, Whipkey said. The cancellation means no playoffs or championship game this season.

Dr. Timothy Gabauer, superintendent of Mount Pleasant Area School District, which leases Hurst Field to the league, decried the threats.

“It’s been a rough year,” he told Reuters, confirming the threats and also mentioning that a fist fight among parents broke out at a game last week. “The selfish actions of adults have really put the kids in a bad situation.”

He said the school district didn't have any role in pressuring the league to cancel the remainder of the season.

Whoever placed the bullets at Hurst Field could face charges of making terroristic threats, a first-degree misdemeanor under Pennsylvania law, Limani said.

(Reporting By Frank McGurty, editing by David Alexander)