CINCINNATI — Local youth sports programs have decided to cancel or relocate practices and games out of concern for the spike in violence in Cincinnati.
"I just wish the foolishness would stop, that's going on in the city, so our kids can have a good time and grow up to be great student athletes," said Andre Williams, head coach of the Western AA Mustangs.
Williams' team, which is comprised of 6-year-old children, canceled a game scheduled for last weekend after shootings nearby left them worried. Cincinnati United Youth Football League made a similar decision and postponed their playoff games by a week.
"Our league president received a lot of phone calls from concerned parents and members in our league," reads a statement from Reggie Borden Jr., a youth coach with the league. "We felt that it was best not to host games last weekend. We have inner-city organizations that are in neighborhoods affected by the violence."
Williams said the kids on his team are disappointed by the cancellations, but safety is top priority.
"It's just sad that we have to cancel games for our kids. You know, they actually want, they are actually wanting to play," he said. "So you can see it in their faces when we have to cancel games and they can't play that day and things like that."
On Monday, Cincinnati Police tweeted about school programs canceling practice following the recent violence, saying that "thanks to the swift action and extra patrols by District 1 — groups like Q-Kidz dance studio were able to get back at it."
Williams said right now he doesn't have a solution to the violence the city faces or how it impacts these leagues, but he said something has to be done to make sure the kids are safe.
"I just wish it would stop in the city," he said. "You know, these are, this is our future. These kids. They need us."