Fayetteville, N.C. — Hundreds of Heroes Youth Football players in Fayetteville are scheduled to play Saturday, but many will not be wearing their jerseys.
Parents said after paying money to get their kids, ages 8 to 15, into the game, organizers started making excuses.
Their first game two weeks ago at the Crown Coliseum was a month and a half late. And without team jerseys, it was hard to tell the players apart.
“My kids don’t have jerseys,” said Curtis Clanton, who paid a $110 entry fee for each of his two children in the league. "One bad thing after another.”
Clanton said he’s frustrated – and he’s not alone.
According to the league website, there are more than 400 players in Heroes Youth Football. Tony Fisher and Donald Satterwhite are coaches of a few of the teams that compete.
“We are at wit’s end with this whole deal,” Satterwhite said.
Added Fisher, “They ask for jerseys every day. They say, ‘Coach, when are our jerseys coming in.’”
Fisher and Satterwhite say the man running the league is Jack Bowman, general manager for the Cape Fear Heroes, an indoor professional team.
"They delayed us, and eventually last month they quit talking to us,” Fisher said. "But then we get the email saying if we show up in game jerseys that the parents went out and bought, we would get a forfeit. We could not play."
Bowman told WRAL in an email late Friday that he has paid for the jerseys and is waiting for their delivery.
There is an open letter to parents posted on the Cape Fear Heroes website, blaming problems on late paperwork and fees from teams.
"The Heroes had to have an accurate count of players on each team's roster. This has ultimately delayed the proposed date of ordering jerseys ordered weeks ago,” the letter states.
Coaches say that is not true, and some parents say their kids are losing interest in the game.
“It is not the same,” said Maria Jones, parent of a 9-year-old player. “He does not try anymore. He’s like, ‘We are not playing a game. Why do we have to continue practicing?’”