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Logo concern misses target for some parents

Complaint about team sponsor draws national attention


by: POST PHOTO: NEIL ZAWICKI - Rapid Fire Arms owner Brian Coleman says hes disappointed over the opposition regarding his logo, which is displayed on the jerseys of a Sandy T-ball team.A Sandy T-ball team is garnering local, regional and national media attention this week.

But it's not because of what the team is doing on the field.

Instead, it's because of what the team is wearing.

The Sandy Cal Ripkin League T-ball team of 5- and 6-year-old boys and girls is sponsored by a Sandy firearm retailer — Rapid Fire Arms. The team's shirts carry the business logo, which features crosshairs at the center.

One anonymous source took her complaint about the sponsor to Portland's KGW television news station, which reported the story Wednesday. Since that time, the story has appeared on national news websites, including The Huffington Post.

The anonymous source said a Sandy youth T-ball team’s sponsor was wrong to include a set of crosshairs on the logo it provided for the team jerseys.

The source, which KGW reporters were only capable of defining as “the woman,” said the crosshairs were “inappropriate,” and added, “We need to be eliminating any sort of association between children and guns, rather than promoting it.”

Store owner Brian Coleman, whose son plays on the team, said opposition to the design surprises not only him, but the majority of people who learn of it.

“It’s a Logo,” he said. “It’s been around for years and that’s why it’s on the shirts.”

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - This is an example of the T-shirt design worn by members of the Sandy Cal Ripkin League T-ball team sponsored by Rapid Fire Arms.Coleman suggested that anyone who opposes the presence of his store logo can simply leave the team or move to another league.

“I am amazed how we have become a society of one person,” he said. “There can be 99 percent of the people happy, but we have to make that one person happy. As far as I’m concerned, that one person can be wrong.”

Jenni Heller is a coach for the T-ball team, and also has a child on the team. She said she has no trouble with the logo.

“The kids have no idea what’s on their shirts,” Heller said. “They’re more interested in what number they are.”

Heller added that there is no gun talk on the field, that they only talk T-ball.

While the source interviewed by KGW remains anonymous, supporters of the sponsor are in plain sight. Shannon Brown is another team mom who feels the complaint is unwarranted.

Shannon is the wife of Steven Brown, executive editor of The Sandy Post, Gresham Outlook and Estacada news.

“Even from my perspective of being on the more pro-gun control side, it never even occurred to me that this would be an issue,” Shannon said. “And it kind of makes me sad to think that, even though it shouldn’t be an issue, it might affect the kids.”

Brown added that if the complaining parent had only come to the other parents with her concerns, there could have been a compromise, rather than just running off to the TV news.

“What if she had come to all of us and said she had a problem?” Brown said. “If the big problem is the crosshairs, you know, ‘Brian, do you mind if we sharpie those out?' "

"I just want my kid to go out and play ball,” she added.

Brown added that it is more important that the team had a business step up and give sponsorship, making it possible for the team to have matching shirts and hats. Also, she said, the idea that a symbol is somehow encouraging violence is odd, given the activity.

“When kids can learn to hit with a metal stick as hard as they can and extremely accurately, I’m not really sure what a picture on a shirt has to do with that,” she said.