Tone deaf: CA police chief says no to charity football game due to Republican participation

Screengrab Fox 11, Thousand Oaks Police Chief Tim Hagel

For some on the left, politics has become so toxic that they refuse to associate with Republicans, even in public settings such as a charity event.

The Blue Bowl charity flag football game in Southern California has been postponed indefinitely because a police chief didn’t want Trump-supporting Republicans invited to the event, according to Fox 11 Los Angeles.

Pro-Trump celebrities Scott Baio and Joy Villa were among those set to participate.

The game was planned in honor of Ventura County Sgt. Ron Helus, an officer killed in a 2018 mass shooting. The goal was to raise money for his family and families of other officers killed in the line of duty, FOX 11 reported.

The family had signed off on the event and the local NFL team, the Los Angeles Rams, were also taking part.

Helus died when a gunman attacked the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks in November, killing 13 people and wounding about a dozen others. The deputy had been shot five times, but the fatal shot was friendly fire, CBS News reported.

The Blue Bowl was scheduled to take place on Sunday and thousands of dollars had already been raised, but Fox 11 reported the money was being returned to donors after organizers say Thousand Oaks Police Chief Tim Hagel convinced organizations to pull out of the event.

Hagel objected to Baio and Villa being a part of the event, according to organizer Mike Randall, vice president of the Fallen Officers Foundation.

“He basically said over and over in the conversation, ‘This is not Trump country, that slogan ‘Make America Great’ is not favorable, popular, within 1,200 square miles,’ that we don’t want Republicans here. I could not believe it,” Randall told Fox 11.

He said that Hagel added, “’The only thing,’ and I quote, ‘the only thing you [could have done to make] this worse, Mike, was to invite Dick Cheney and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.’

“And I went, ‘Wow, are you kidding me?” Randall said.

The Fox affiliate said the charity event speakers list was bipartisan.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s public safety liaison was on the list, along with Baio, who went to the same church as Sgt. Helus, and Villa, who was set to sing the national anthem.

According to Randall, the police chief said Democratic Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin contacted him and was upset that a previous Republican election opponent had been invited.

Hagel reportedly gave an ultimatum, ditch the Republican participants or he would tell the Venturas County Sheriff’s Department to withdraw, which is ultimately what happened when Randall refused to comply with the demand.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Bill Ayub explained their decision in a statement to Fox 11:

“The ‘Blue Bowl’ event was represented as a charitable flag football tournament to raise funds for the family of Sergeant Ron Helus. An event that would honor Ron’s memory and provide support to his wife Karen and son Jordan. As the event began to materialize, we became concerned with the behavior of some of the organizers of the event. Although I believe the organizers had good intentions, the event was moving in a direction we no longer felt comfortable supporting.”

Politics has no affected even charity. And the family of the fallen officer will pay the price, along with other like families, being deprived of funding that is sorely needed.

Tom Tillison

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