A children's football league in Pennsylvania has canceled its season, just weeks before its long-awaited Super Bowl, after ammunition shells bearing the names of certain league officers were found at the gate of a stadium where the children play.
"It's hard to process that somebody would do that, be that selfish and take something away for a bunch of kids," Chad Allen, one of the league's coaches, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In a Facebook post Tuesday to parents, officers of the Mount Pleasant Area Junior Football League said that the shells had been found that day at the gate of Hurst Stadium in Norvelt, Pennsylvania.
"After continued threats against league officials, coaches and referees, the league has only one option, to cancel the season. ... The safety of our children is the main concern. ... We hope that as parents you will agree with this decision [to end the season] and try and cooperate with everyone involved to bring forward the person or persons responsible for these actions," the post said.
The league, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary season, is made up of about 300 children ranging in ages from 6 to 14.
Football parent Stephanie Spallone said this season had been a bad one "with the parents fighting and making comments about the other kids' weights or yelling from the stands, fist-fighting."
"I have no idea where it's coming from," she told ABC News affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, "but it's gotta stop."
Joey Blaszkowski, a 12-year-old player, said parents and players were mad but that his teammates in particular were mostly sad.
"We were going to the Super Bowl," he told WTAE-TV. "I guess that's out the window."
State police at Greensburg were reportedly investigating.