UPDATE: 5:24 p.m., 5/24/12
In the comments section below, Eric Kuhnau, the Patch user who initially had concerns over the sign, issued this letter to the team:
An open letter of apology to the children, families, coaches and supporters of the Bad News Bears,
I apparently was very wrong in my opinion that this was an inappropriate sign for your team. Please accept my apology to each of you.
To Coach Josh, I am sorry for the trouble this has caused and hope nothing but the best for you and your team. I should have addressed it with you and I was wrong not to.
To Jeff, I am sorry as well and thank you for the personal visit today to clarify. If it had been meant as as joke and to be broken glass, I didn't get the joke. I am sorry for that and appreciate the fact that you were trying to instill team spirit.
To the City, I am sorry this was such an issue and to have wasted your time.
I guess I was the one who used poor judgement in this matter and consider that my lesson learned.
UPDATE: 1:51 p.m., 5/24/12
I just received the following e-mail from the City of University Place's Todd Smith in response to Eric Kahnau's comments on the Bad News Bears sign:
The City of University Place strives to provide positive, quality, fun, enriching opportunities to youth, teens, adults, and seniors in our community. Parks & Recreation has contacted the team, and the sign is being changed. The “Bad News Bears” sign is not an official City of University Place sign, nor was it created, or endorsed by the City’s Recreation division. The perceived negative (inappropriateness) of the sign was not intentional and definitely not created in that context.
We would like to celebrate the fact that there are 855 youth, on 69 teams, coached by over 138 volunteer coaches who are giving their time and compassion to provide an opportunity to experience, learn and play in our youth baseball program. Local businesses have sponsored 54 of our teams, the “Community Supported Parks & Recreation” 501c3 organization provided 21 scholarships for those needing a little financial support, and there are a dozen youth employed as umpires for this year’s baseball season. We want to thank all of our supporters.
Patch user Eric Kuhnau sent the following e-mail to Patch and the City of University Place:
I wanted to bring to your attention a sign that apparently has been posted at some of the coach pitch games/practices for the team Bad News Bears. I am not sure the bullet holes, real or otherwise, sends a positive message about the City's youth sport programs, especially for children in 1st and 2nd grade. Frankly I am very disappointed and shocked at the message this sign sends to other teams as well as parents and families of University Place and beyond.
I would hope that corrective action is taken to at least remove the bullet holes from the sign. I would like to think that a coach would use much better judgement in teaching 7-9 year-old children that a shot up sign bearing their team name is the best representation of themselves. I would hope that our Parks and Rec department would not support or endorse this representation of their programs and resolve it quickly. It makes me so thankful that we have had great coaches for all of the teams my child has played on that not only taught them the sport and game but also about sportsmanship and positive values. Not about shot up signs or other messages of violence.
Thank you for your attention to this matter,