A 2016 graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno, turned down the offer from the minor league Reno Aces to sing the National Anthem this summer because the team, which had always banned guns at the stadium, started requiring metal detector checks at the gate.
Alishia Wolcott, who obtained a concealed weapons permit earlier this year, planned to bring her Glock 43, a 9mm pistol, to last Saturday’s game. But when she and her husband saw the metal detectors as they walked up to the stadium, they decided to go home. Wolcott said, "Men look you up and down. When I walked up to the game on Saturday and saw the way security was checking people, I realized the hand wand wasn’t going to stop someone who has ill intentions.”
Wolcott wrote the team a letter, reading:
I want to first of all say thank you again for this opportunity. It is a true honor and privilege to sing our country’s national anthem as I am a proud citizen of the United States. I truly love singing this song and am passionate about what it represents. Because of this — in light of recent events — I have to inform you I must decline the offer.
My husband and I had tickets to the game against Fresno this past Saturday. To say I was excited would be an understatement. I am an avid baseball lover and a longtime fan of the Reno Aces. I have attended every season and always have a wonderful experience. I was thrilled to be attending a game during opening weekend.
Upon our arrival at the ballpark, we noticed one major change: You are now subjecting your guests to metal detection before entering the stadium. In years past, you have simply required a bag check and nothing more.
The goal is to keep your guests safe, as it is very clear you are searching for weapons. But by taking away their right to self-protection, all you have done is made them more vulnerable to an attack. You have fallen prey to the absurd idea that American citizens need only trust their government for protection. This is indeed a lie and a blatant disregard for our constitutional rights.
My husband and I took a long time to consider our options at Saturday’s game: Do we simply place our “protection” elsewhere and walk freely into the game — thereby giving up and giving in to this deterioration of our rights? Or do we walk away from something we both love, and take a stand against this tyrannical movement?
As I am sure you are well aware, we walked away. We walked away angry and disappointed. Angry at the stripping away of self-protection. Disappointed because it happened at a venue that hosts one of America’s favorite pastimes.
As a result of this, I will not sing our national anthem at a place that seeks to strip me of my Second Amendment rights, nor will I be attending any future events at the Aces' ballpark while these things take place. The actions you have taken have now placed you as part of the fact that this song — this beautiful expression of our freedoms and our rights — is about a country that is slowly ceasing to exist. Little by little, every single day, more and more is being done to chip away at our freedoms — the ones so valiantly fought for as referenced in our anthem.
I must also tell you, I spent much time thinking about how I would decline this opportunity. I heavily considered the idea of sharing my thoughts in the microphone at the game (a sort of Colin Kaepernick style protest) — telling the fans why it is I am refusing to sing. But I have too much respect for the national anthem and the time dedicated for it. I just cannot be the one to perform it in this venue.
The team’s president, Eric Edelstein, issued a statement to The Associated Press:
We have joined every other major ticketed sports facility in Reno as well as every Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer venue in the United States in the use of metal detection. The list of prohibited items at Greater Nevada Field has remained unchanged since our inception in 2009. We will always place fan safety as our top priority at our stadium.