As outrage continued to ramp up the day after the CIAC announced it would be canceling contact football, some have apparently taken to making threats — threats serious enough to elicit a public response from the CIAC and the Connecticut Speaker of the House on Saturday.
Joe Aresimowicz, the house speaker (D-Berlin/Southington) who doubles as Berlin’s football coach, took to Facebook Saturday to implore those angered by the decision to stop the “nonsense.”
He mentioned threats made against the DPH’s acting commissioner Dr. Diedre Gifford and “other state officials.” It was not known the nature of those threats.
Aresimowicz was one of the more outspoken critics of the Dept. of Health, saying it “absolutely blew it,” by recommending contact football couldn’t be played this fall. His criticism was echoed by other Democrat and Republican state representatives.
Aresimowicz acknowledged those comments Saturday, but added: “Despite our feelings, we cannot tolerate threatening people! What the heck happened to disagreeing and even being mad without this nonsense. Please stop!!! The kids are looking at us to show them how they should act when they’re adults!”
His message was shared by the CIAC on social media and followed up by a statement from executive director Glenn Lungarini.
“All are entitled to their opinion and emotions,” Lungarini said on Twitter, “but threatening comments are not acceptable. “I am willing to speak with anyone, but will not condone threats to any member of DPH, state officials, or CIAC Staff.”
All are entitled to their opinion and emotions, but threatening comments are not acceptable. I am willing to speak with anyone, but will not condone threats to any member of DPH, state officials, or CIAC staff. pic.twitter.com/pL6nhVUcn5
— Glenn Lungarini (@GlennLungarini) September 5, 2020
Students, meanwhile, have taken to social media to express their desire to play football this season.
Using the hashtag #letusplayCT on Twitter, many players posted photos of themselves and held up signs and directed those to CIAC and Gov. Ned Lamont.
Some players announced they would be holding several protest rallies, including one for Wednesday, noon (changed originally from 6 p.m.) at the state capitol building in Hartford. Another was being announced for Sunday, noon at West Hartford green.
An online petition was approaching 30,000 signatures as of late Saturday afternoon.