This month, National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) began its 13th season.
But in light of the murder of a singer after one of her concerts in Orlando, followed by last night’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub, NPF has temporarily suspended a key outreach tool of the league: the postgame autograph session.
These sessions take place for 45 minutes after every NPF game. All players, from both home and visiting teams, attend and interact with fans on the field. And, as it turns out, this weekend, one of the game weekends includes a home series in Kissimmee, Fla., which is near Orlando.
“We’re trying to consider some alternatives,” says NPF commissioner Cheri Kempf. “That’s been a staple of the league since the league has existed.”
The commissioner cited specific threats on social media as a reason to end the post-game autograph sessions.
“It just popped up on Saturday,” said Kempf, a Hall-of-Fame pitcher with the Raybestos Brakettes. “What we have evidenced thus far, it was all cyber based. It was on various platforms … Twitter, Facebook, possibly LinkedIn, and email.”
According to Kempf, the threats were all made by one person.
And, as the events at Pulse nightclub earlier this morning showed, all it takes is one person.