The Wichita Youth Football League in Kansas canceled its season on Thursday following a shooting at a game that left one person dead. The Capital Sports Institute, which runs the grades 1-8 Wichita Youth Football League, announced the decision on Facebook on Thursday, writing that games "can no longer safely continue."
"As a league, we can no longer safely continue with the 2020 season, as it is clearly too dangerous for the children and families of this city," Capital Sports Institute wrote. "Our pleas and desires to change the culture of youth football in Wichita have consistently fallen on deaf ears... It is our genuine hope that as a city, as a people, as a culture, we can and will do better."
The decision was made to cancel the season after a man allegedly snuck a gun into the Stryker Sports Complex during a youth game and shot 31-year old Marquell Nolen of Wichita on Wednesday. Nolen laters died at a local hospital due to injuries suffered from the shooting. The gun was illegally brought into the Stryker Sports Complex, according to a statement from the Wichita Police Department. The suspect is still at large.
"This youth football league was developed with a genuine hope to change the culture surrounding youth football in Wichita," the Capital Sports Institute wrote in their Facebook statement. "To give inner-city children the opportunity to play under the lights on turf fields, with large crowds cheering them on to victory. To allow those children to feel cared for, important, and worthy. To give families a safe, secure environment where their children can learn to play sports. To allow the Wichita youth some time to simply be kids in the midst of a global pandemic."
According to USA Today, there was already a strong police presence and increased security at games that took place at the Capital Sports Institute due to "consistent fights, arguments and littering."