Commissioner Issues Open Letter to Fans
Tuesday May 21, 2013
An unfortunate occurrence took place after our recent game between the San Jose Sabercats and the Jacksonville Sharks. I issued the following statement yesterday: “The altercation that took place between two of our Teams Saturday night was not at all the level of professional conduct expected at an Arena Football League event. We take the safety of all our players and staff very seriously so a full independent investigation into the incident has been initiated.”
This statement does not condone or support any of the alleged misconduct or unacceptable acts by any of the parties involved. The AFL has engaged the services of a professional organization to conduct an in-depth investigation into what transpired, what caused the incident, and the parties responsible. I am not pleased with what has been alleged, however, believe we need all of the facts before disciplinary action is taken. The allegations do not live up to the standards the AFL has set in our Mission Statement:
“To serve our community with pride and passion as a quality example of individual and team excellence on the field, in the office, at the arena and within the community by consistently exceeding our customers’ expectations by demonstrating the highest character, appreciation and respect for our game, customers, teammates and partners as a cost-effective and visionary organization providing a total entertainment experience.”
I have received a great number of emails and telephone calls, including a number at 3 a.m. this morning and am confident many more of both will be forthcoming. I appreciate the emails and calls I receive everyday from our fans, whether they are the good, bad or ugly. Without our fans, we would not have our sport or League. I do my best to respond to all emails and calls; however with the volume on this matter, I thought a letter to all of you would be appropriate.
Many of the emails and calls have demanded either the suspension or termination of our San Jose assistant coach. Some have threatened to boycott games until discipline is handed down. A number of fans urge that “he must be guilty, because he was arrested”. That is not the standard we use in our great country. The basic principle in our judicial system, that brave men and women, serving in both our armed services and law enforcement agencies, have fought and died for, is that people charged with offenses are innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I, personally, am proud as an American and a veteran, that we have that standard.
I do not condone what has been alleged; however, I was not present to observe the incident. This is why I believe we must wait for the legal proceedings and independent investigation to run their course.
I am pleased that our Jacksonville staff member has been released from the hospital and is on the road to recovery.
Our great fans, players, coaches, staff members, owners, sport and league have been my primary focus for the past 27 years. That focus will continue as long as I am allowed. Please have the faith I do that our judicial system will properly address this serious matter and please remain the loyal and dedicated fans you have been for our players and sport.
Jerry B. Kurz