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Outrage Of The Week

Friday, March 12, 2010

This week's "Outrage" comes to us from New Jersey, where firearms dealer, pistol instructor, and proud NRA member Matt Carmel's application to sponsor a youth baseball team was summarily rejected by the local baseball league. 

The problem started last October, when Carmel sent a letter to the South Orange-Maplewood Baseball Committee, which oversees 120 softball and baseball teams in the area.  Since Carmel's son had played on a league team the season before, Carmel wanted to sponsor a team himself.  But in an 8-1 vote, the volunteer committee declined his application.

Carmel's business is "Constitution Arms" -- a retail gun store.  The baseball league didn't give a specific reason for the sponsorship denial, but one of the league's committee members, Craig Gruber, told Fox News he voted against it because he was "certain that … it would generate controversy." 

"Personally ... given the nature of that business, I'm certain there'd be quite a bit of contention. We don't need the headache," said Gruber. 

The league says it has broad authority to reject potential sponsors based on the well-being of the kids who play, and that is likely true.  How the well-being of the players would be compromised by the sponsorship of a perfectly legitimate business is not clear. 

At any rate, Carmel says the ruling was not fair.  "Arbitrary, capricious and unfair.  I don't like being pigeonholed," Carmel said.  "All I want is fair treatment." 

Carmel notes that other sponsors the league has allowed could also be deemed "inappropriate."  He says the league has permitted sponsorship by sellers of liquor and tobacco -- items frowned upon at youth baseball functions -- as well as a chicken eatery whose ads feature a scantily clad woman and a very suggestive slogan.

"I want to advocate for the Second Amendment," Carmel went on to say. "I think it's extremely important.  It's important to show my kids that you stand up for what you believe.  You don't take it lying down."

At this time, it seems highly unlikely that the baseball committee will change its position, but things are looking up for Carmel. 

A local kids' rugby team has gladly accepted Carmel's team sponsorship.

Donna Waliky, a trustee of the independent nonprofit group "Morris Rugby" and its 1,000 youthful players said, "I'm a coach ... and I'm a card-carrying member of the NRA.  He's a legitimate business owner who supports legal gun ownership. ... I told him we'd be proud to have him as a sponsor."

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