Say NO to gun violence, stop funding Ted Nugent (Nashville Predators & TN Lottery)
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As was reported in major news organizations Feb. 21, 2018, National Rifle Association Board member Ted Nugent claims the Parkland, FL students speaking up and demanding changes in US gun laws after 17 of their teachers and classmates were murdered are "paid actors.” In March 2018, Nugent called March For Our Lives (largest youth demonstration since the Vietnam War era) "ignorant children" being manipulated by "adult scammers" and said that participants are "dangerously stupid... they have no soul." March For Our Lives drew tens of thousands of participants here in Nashville and all across the state.
Those in the gun reform community have had concerns about Nugent for some time. In 2008 Nugent called for then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to “suck my machine gun.” More recently he called 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (who won Nashville by 27 points) a "worthless b-tch” and said she should be shot. In October 2017, Nugent appeared on various forms of media with alt-right personality Alex Jones and accused the Democratic Party of orchestrating the Las Vegas shooting in which over 50 country music fans were killed. He repeated this theme on 7 April '18 when he said Democrats should be "shot like coyotes." Nugent has promised to moderate his rhetoric but clearly, this hasn't happened.
At nearly every home game (as has been the case for a few years now), the Nashville Predators play Nugent's song Cat Scratch Fever as part of a promotion the team holds for the Tennessee Lottery's "Scratch & Win" game - the team mascot, Gnash, scratches off a board to determine which section of the arena will win lottery tickets as Nugent’s song plays in the background. As is commonly known, musicians receive royalty payments for use of their music. The number of times the Preds play Cat Scratch Fever is monitored and recorded, and Nugent receives a payment.
In 2014, the Nashville Predators changed their goal song from Rock and Roll Part 2 after the arrest of English musician Gary Glitter for pedophilia. In light of this it would not be unprecedented for the team to make a game ops decision based on considerations of morality. (Nugent has had his own issues with reported sexual relations with underaged girls.)
While the Tennessee Lottery is self-funding in the sense that it receives proceeds from those who purchase lottery tickets, the organization is, by statute, "deemed to be acting in all respects for the benefit of the people of Tennessee.” The Nashville Predators organization, in using the name of our city for its team, reflects the community standards of those who live here. (Additionally, Nashville provides certain financial benefits to the Predators through the city's Sports Authority.) Repeatedly, citizens of Nashville have made their wishes known in supporting legislation to ban guns in parks and in bars. Bridgestone Arena, where the Predators play, is owned by the city of Nashville - and bans guns.
Don't get us wrong: we are not against the Predators in general. The games are lots of fun and promote the city; the organization does absolutely wonderful things in our community. They provide funding and visibility for a number of good causes such as Hockey Fights Cancer, Best Buddies, Toys for Tots, even pet adoption, and their youth programs for underprivileged and disabled kids of both genders and all backgrounds are beyond reproach. The Preds host "Pride Night" supporting the LGBT community a couple of times per year and are promoters of the You Can Play #HockeyIsForEveryone movement.
Also, the Tennessee Lottery has provided millions of needed dollars for TN schools. We admire both of these organizations and want to see them succeed, which is why we'd like them to cut ties to someone who delivers hate-filled rants targeting (among others) schoolchildren affected by mass assassinations.
We ask the team and the Tennessee Lottery to find another song to play during hockey games to promote the “Scratch and Win” game (we'd love to see the work of local artists as in the current goal celebration song by Tim McGraw and the Black Keys), and to stop funding Ted Nugent's hate speech.
We are not asking for a public announcement of a decision on this, although of course that would be great. We'll know our efforts are successful when we see a Lottery promo using different music.
TL;DR: Nashville Predators and TN Lottery are paying gun extremist Ted Nugent for use of his music during hockey games. We're asking them to stop.
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