A rifle raffle to raise money for youth football players and cheerleaders in a North Carolina community was blasted with backlash recently — but when the league's story went national, support for its endeavor rolled in from across country, Fox News reported.
What are the details?
The East Henderson Youth Football and Cheerleading League in East Flat Rock — about a half hour southeast of Asheville and with just over 6,000 people — offered the winner of its raffle an FN 15 Patrol Carbine M-LOK 16", an ArmaLite 15-style rifle with a suggested retail price of $1,299, the cable network said.
Football players in the parent-run league range in age from 5 to 13 years old, and cheer team members range in age from 4 to 13 years old, Fox News said, citing the EHYFCL.
When word got out about the raffle, the cable network said the league was hit with criticism — yet refused to cave.
"We kicked off this fundraiser with the expectation that it would raise enough money to purchase a few new shoulder pads, some new padded football pants, which we are in desperate need of, and have enough funds to get us through to next season," a mother with the league told Fox News. "What we never expected was for a parent to take her grievances to the local news station instead of having a conversation with us. That is particularly frustrating. We certainly didn't expect to be headline news across the nation."
The parent said the rifle raffle is inappropriate for a children's league and told WLOS-TV, "I was honestly shocked when I received the message that the children were going to be selling an assault rifle because of what’s going on at schools around the country." The parent added to the local station, “I thought it was in very bad taste for them to choose a weapon that is being used against children."
Pushback against the pushback
But the mother with the league told Fox News that initial stories about the raffle were full of "false headlines, misleading reports, and inaccurate information," and that some articles "took direct quotes from our page and changed our very own words to advance their own narrative."
The cable network said in its Sept. 4 article about the backlash, the mother with the league indicated that the raffle met legal requirements — and that the rifle in question is not an assault rifle.
"Some reports even added information that puts our children in more danger than selling tickets to a legal raffle ever would," the mother added, according to Fox News. "Our practice locations were broadcast in one article; other articles reported us as schools in our area. We've received hate mail, nasty messages, uninformed opinions, pushback ..."
Support starts rolling in
She noted to the cable network that once folks around the country started hearing about the attacks against the league and its raffle, support came rolling in.
"In a time when our world has felt so small, so godless, so dark and so lonely, our world grew brighter this past week," she told Fox News. "From coast to coast there has been an overwhelming wave of support for not only [for] our league, but our community as well."
The mother added to the cable network that "there are not many states we haven't had at least one person reach out from."
'We have far surpassed our goals'
She also told Fox News that the support has translated into tangible gains.
"We have far surpassed our goals and now have the ability to pass those blessings on to others in need," she added to the cable network. "We have read every message, transaction note, and email that has come our way. The supportive messages are coming from both retired and active military personnel, law enforcement officers, firefighters, fellow youth organization leaders, teachers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and grandparents trying to save our backwards society."
The mother with the league also told Fox News that supporters deserve thanks for "teaching [our children] to have a backbone, to stand up for what they believe in, to protect our constitutional rights, and to not back down to bullying. Everyone wants to talk about bullying, but no one wants to stand up against them. When someone finally does stand up, they are the ones who are punished, not the bully. We've all had enough."
The below video isn't related to the raffle but does show the kind of rifle that's being offered:
FNH FN15 Patrol Carbine youtu.be