Protest at Miracle League Ends in Assault and Arrest

Story by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – A protest at a Miracle League of the Triangle event last weekend ended in an alleged assault and the arrest of a Raleigh man.

Protesting the Miracle League

The Miracle League of the Triangle is a non-profit dedicated to serving kids with special needs through baseball. According to their website, the league has over 200 participants and 22 teams with 500 volunteers. CaryCitizen has written about Miracle League in the past.

On Saturday, about a dozen protestors showed up at Adams Elementary where the Miracle League currently plays their games.

Miracle League, with the Kerr Family YMCA, is in the planning stages for a second special-needs baseball field near the Carrington neighborhood of Wakefield Plantation off Falls of the Neuse Road in Raleigh.

The protestors handed out flyers to the parents of Miracle League participants, objecting to the plans for the new ball field in their neighborhood.

Scare Tactics

CaryCitizen obtained a copy of the flyer, which leads with the line “What the Miracle League is Not Telling Parents.” Many parents who received the flyer were upset with its content and tone, a seeming warning about health concerns related to the proposed site. The subtext of the message was that the Miracle League was deceiving parents and exposing children to a health risk.

One parent characterized the flyer as “scare tactics” and was “not happy” at the protest at the site of a Miracle League event.

According to another eye-witness, some parents felt “threatened and harassed.” The protesters began videotaping the scene, asking parents “do you care about your children?”

For parents of special-needs children, this is a particularly offensive tactic.

First Visit from the Police

Some heated words were exchanged and the Cary Police arrived before lunch.

They informed the protestors that the Miracle League had a right to determine who was on the property at Adams Elementary during their games. The police had the protestors remove their cars from the school parking lot and take their protest off school property.

Protestor Charged with Assault

Around 3 PM,  a man and his son began protesting on the drive up to the school.

Miracle League parents, well-aware of the incidents in the morning, became agitated with the man’s presence on school property.

Traci Brown, Executive Director of the Miracle League, spoke to the man in the driveway, informing him that the police had instructed protestors to stay off school property.

According to first hand reports, what followed was a “physical assault.” The man was then alleged to have fled the scene.

Cary police were once again called. A warrant for the man was issued on Saturday, according to Cary Police Captain Michael Williams.

More About the Protesters

The protest took shape on the web about two weeks earlier with an online petition directed against the Miracle League and the YMCA.

This first petition focused on the “destruction of peace and serenity in Carrington.” As of Friday, June 1, this petition has garnered 3 supporters plus petition creator Crystal Rhoades of Raleigh.

A second petition emerged shortly thereafter, but this one focused on the alleged health risk to children, not the “peace and serenity” issue. The second petition was started by a group calling itself Carrington at Wakefield Plantation.

YMCA Outreach Rebuffed

Back on April 28 and May 1, the Kerr Y held two community outreach meetings about the proposed ball field. The land had been given to the Y by Wakefield Development and is zoned for the proposed use.

Personnel from the Y and Miracle League expected the meetings to be cordial. Instead, eyewitnesses described the outreach sessions as “bizarre,” “hostile” and “shocking.”

One Miracle League parent described her interaction with a protester at a meeting. “When I told her I was a Miracle League parent, her hands starting shaking she was so angry.”

Moving Forward

According to a source with knowledge of legislative affairs, “if that zoning allows outdoor recreation, and meets all other Raleigh ordinances, I would suggest to the concerned homeowners that they have few options to affect the outcome.  I would also let them know that without legislative options, ie, appealing to the Raleigh city council to deny a rezoning request, that they should take a very different approach.” Any accommodations would be “goodwill measures and not ordinance requirements.”

Stacie Craft, Associate Branch Manager for the Kerr Family Y, said plans continue for Phase I development of the Wakefield tract as a second ball field for the Miracle League. Looking ahead, Phase II development options might include a special needs playground or practice field.

In an official statement, Miracle League had this to say:

“We at the Miracle League of the Triangle were shocked and appalled by the incidents at our ball field on Saturday, May 26.  Our plans to build a second field in North Raleigh have been welcomed with great enthusiasm among parents, volunteers, and—most of all—the children on our waiting lists who just want a chance to play ball.  While we may never understand why a few North Raleigh residents decided to stage a protest at our Cary ball field, upsetting and harassing families on what was supposed to be a celebratory game day, we hope that they will work with us and the entire special needs community as we move forward.”

44 replies
  1. Bryan Hennessy
    Bryan Hennessy says:

    Most of the people who live in Carrington are not opposed to the fields, but it is in our backyard, so a little understanding instead of name calling and judging might be a better path for the families who will use the fields.
    I would never protest a project like this, but remember, we live in a subdivision that does not have a pass thru road and we do not want traffic on the streets where OUR children play. Let’s hope the families of the Miracle League show the respect they want to our children when they come to our neighborhood. On a side note, I hear it is not just miracle league children using the fields. Enjoy the games.

  2. Claire
    Claire says:

    As a resident of Carrington, please accept my apology for the actions of a few of my neighbors. I am terribly embarrassed and ashamed of what the actions of a few people have done. We were notified of the planned protest and I was appalled that anyone would consider such tactics. Please do not judge our entire neigborhood on the actions of a few. I am a teacher who currently works with developmentally disabled adults, so I appreciate the wonderful work the Miracle League is doing. The kids that are blessed to participate in these activities are fortunate to have such passionate and dedicated parents and volunteers.

    I truly think the biggest concern of our neighborhood about this is the safety issue of traffic in and out of our neighborhood. We have just one single entrance in and out of our subdivision. I have had 2 heart attacks in the past year and have had to call 911 services on one occasion. Thankfully they were able to get to my home quickly, but if there were a traffic jam at the entrance it could be dangerous for all involved. The streets are narrow, residential streets, many people park on the street and make driving difficult. One child on a bicycle was hit by a car because they could not see each other coming. Fortunately the child sustained only minor injuries. I think if there were a better entrance/exit proposed that would certainly alleviate some of the concerns people have here. If you have not been up here to visit our neighborhood and see the proposed area I would suggest you try to come and do so and decide for yourselves.

    Again, on behalf of many of my neighbors, we are truly sorry for what happened at your game on May 26. Please understand that was not representative of our entire neighborhood. Thank you for letting me share!

  3. Elaine Innes
    Elaine Innes says:

    Thank you Miracle League and
    Tracy and all the wonderful staff and volunteers that
    make it possible for our kids to play ball.
    God Bless you

  4. Traci Brown
    Traci Brown says:

    Brenda–thanks for taking the time to share your thoughtful commentary and concerns. We’re working on future opportunities for discussion of concerns such as traffic, and we would like to keep you in the loop. If you have any questions or would like to talk further, please don’t hesitate to email me at

  5. Don
    Don says:

    Lets be real. Carrington is like any other NIMBY group, and will use whatever arguments they can to prevent someone else from developing their property. They don’t care about the kid’s, all they care about is preventing someone else from removing some of the trees behind their homes.

    • John Davison
      John Davison says:

      Amen brother! The epitome of selfishness and all that’s wrong with society today. They shoudl come out to a game some time and see how enriching the experience really is.

  6. Cindy
    Cindy says:

    Except for a few renegades, I feel that most of the concerns are about the traffic on Queensland Road. My sister lives in that neighborhood. The houses are very close to the narrow street – therefore the driveways hold 2 vehicles at the very most. Many cars park on the street especially if you are a guest. I cannot imagine that kind of traffic on Queensland Road on Friday & Saturday. I cannot understand that this would be allowed especially since there is a better alternative. I feel that the neighborhood should not even be in the position to have to fight the location of the entrance & exits. If you drive down that road, it would be obvious that this is a bad plan. Common sense should rule.

    • Mikki Paradis
      Mikki Paradis says:

      I agree, common sense should rule and common sense should dictate that you don’t protest a baseball game for children with special needs in order to get your opinions of the traffic situation out there! If the people in your sisters neighborhood had any common sense they would have realized that they were only going to accomplish 2 things with a protest of this nature. The first is upsetting and discouraging a group of children who fight every day to find acceptance in the faces of seriously ignorant people, and the second thing they accomplished was looking like monsters! What kind of person protests at a special needs event? The people of that neighborhood need to realize that by using absolutely no common sense they have made it extremely difficult for anyone to see past their horrible actions. I feel that the home owners association responsible for the protest owes the miracle league, the children, and all the volunteers a public appology. Perhaps that action would help everyone to see past this disgusting behavior and evaluate the real issues.

      • Cindy
        Cindy says:

        Mikki – I have no idea who was behind that protest – hopefully not the homeowners association. I totally agree with you. The park should definitely be built & those protesters were way out of line. Just know that the ‘protesters’ do not represent the thoughts of the majority of that neighborhood. I had never heard of the Miracle League until now. It sounds like a great organization. The issue of traffic concerns should be brought before the city of Raleigh or the DOT – whoever makes those decisions, but certainly not as a protest at a Miracle League event. If anything good has come of this it is that now more people know about the Miracle League. I will look forward to seeing the park in the future when I visit my sister.

  7. Michele
    Michele says:

    Hi Brenda,
    Thank you so much for your comment(s)…..I am looking forward to everyone getting better at communicating with each other. I feel certain that the concerns of the residents of Carrington are important to the MLT, the Kerr YMCA and to the us, the parents of these wonderful children. The Miracle League first started in Georgia and now there are fields across the United States and in Canda, Puerto Rico and Australia……when you get the chance look in Virginia…..I know of 3 fields….I hope one is close to your grandson:).

    Once again thank you for explaining the concerns and helping in the communication. Hope to see you at the ball field in the fall:)


  8. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    Thank you so much for responding. My grandson is 4 years old and lives in northern Virginia. It would be great if he was closer. I just talked with my daughter about this situation and the good works the Miracle League does here. This would be a good volunteerism opportunity for me in the future–I know I would receive a lot more than I could give. Where are games currently being played in Raleigh?

    • Carrie OBrien
      Carrie OBrien says:

      The season is over for now but we start back up in late August. If you like, go online at and you can learn all about it. Its a wonderful organization.

    • Autism Mom
      Autism Mom says:

      Brenda, my son rides in the same program, though he didn’t do the show. NVTRP is a fantastic program. There is a well supported Miracle League in Northern Virginia, in Manassas Park. We’d love to have him if it isn’t too far. Regarding the behaviors of your neighbors, I know it must be appalling and embarrassing. Special needs parents get so many hurtful comments already from strangers and acquaintances alike – they don’t need this nonsense.

  9. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    My grandson has special needs and is in horseback riding therapy in Virginia. He was in his first horse show this past weekend. My daughter sent me pictures of him–what a precious sight. His joy and excitement filled the day and my heart. He was so proud that he wore the 2 ribbons he won until bedtime.

    I am a resident of Carrington at Wakefield. Hearing today about the protest at the Miracle League game in Cary, I could not be more ashamed and embarrassed by the apparent turn of events over the weekend. I have not been actively involved in the movement to prevent the Miracle League locating sports fields in our neighborhood, but I do have concerns. My primary concern is with the proposed two entrances/exits for the fields on Queensland Road and the traffic concerns therein. I had originally assumed that the entrances/exits would be on Wakefield Commons Drive–not on our small subdivision street.

    I have been so touched reading the posted comments. I guess you can see my mixed emotions regarding my neighborhood. I do want to go to some games, wherever in North Raleigh they may be, to witness the magical moments your children experience. God bless.

    • Carrie OBrien
      Carrie OBrien says:

      Hi Brenda; thank you for your warm email. I don’t know if you are aware but the Miracle League only plays on Friday nights and Saturday during the day. The teams are not there on a daily basis. Would love to have you come see or maybe even take part in a game. The warmth from these kids and parents is all encompassing and I am very proud to be a part of it. How old is your grandson? Maybe you could see about putting him on a team?

    • Anthony Dunn
      Anthony Dunn says:


      That’s wonderful about your grandson. I know you and the whole family are very proud of him. :)

      To date, your post is the clearest explanation of the Carrington residents’ position. Concerns about traffic flowing through a “small subdivision street” seems a lot more realistic than some of the other objections raised. Also, your expressing your conflicted feelings seem like a sincere attempt to understand the concerns of everyone involved. You represent your neighborhood better than some of your neighbors.

      In contrast, Mr. George’s reprehensible actions were completely the wrong way to make his point. I also find objectionable that some feel the need to paint the Miracle League families as “uncaring” because they do not see the proposed location as harmful to their children. Are the parents of Carrington any less caring when they let their children play in the same area?

      Thank you presenting your concerns. I, for one, now better understand why some would object to this proposal.


    • Jackie Holcombe
      Jackie Holcombe says:


      Thanks so much for explaining your position. It’s helpful. Your concern is a reasonable one, and an issue that needs to be rationally discussed.

      As both an elected official and a Miracle League parent, this process has been disturbing. On a regular basis, I hear from residents concerned about development in my community. For the most part, their concerns are, like yours, reasonable. Occasionally the concerns stem from misunderstandings or lack of understanding of zoning and local ordinances. Similar to HOA restrictions, these local “rules” govern what can and cannot be done on a specific parcel of property. As with HOA rules, some are absolutes and give specific rights of use and development to property owners. The zoning of the YMCA parcel and Raleigh’s ordinances will determine absolute rights for development.

      It has been my experience that most concerns are presented by reasonable people looking for a specific and often better outcome. This can be achieved if both parties agree to work together. An amicable resolution when threats are involved is much less likely to be reached.

      I hope that you and a few of your like-minded neighbors will meet with the Y and Miracle League to discuss your concerns.

      And CONGRATS to your grandson on his horse back riding accomplishments! Sounds like it was a wonderful day for him. And his proud family.

  10. Anthony Dunn
    Anthony Dunn says:

    Thank you for publishing this article. I am a parent of a special needs child who has been blessed for years by the ML. One of the major highlights of the week for my son Wesley if playing baseball. It brings him joy and gives him the opportunity to meet a lot of great people. I also know it is a tremendous blessing to all those who selflessly coach, buddy, and serve in so many other ways. I am so thankful for the Miracle League!

    I see where some are trying to make this an issue about the safety of the special needs children. This appares to be a specious argument created only after they failed to gain support for their real agenda, namely protecting property values. This is clear to me after reading the text of the first petition, which is linked in one of the posts above. The title tells it all. The protestors believe having a ball field for special needs children is tantamount to “the destruction of Carrington at Wakefield” which must be stopped.

    The text of the petition states that the protestors desire to preverse for their own children “the freedom to ride their bikes, skate boards and play basketball in the community without fear of traffic and strangers.” I can appreciate that concern. I care for my children. I, like all ML parents, care about children in general. In fact, I wonder if the protestors have taken a moment to get to know these “strangers” within the Special Needs community that they are so fearful of exposing their children to. Based on my experience, these “strangers” are some of the most patient, gentle, and understanding people I’ve ever met. Spending every single day providng a loved one with an extra level of care tends to change people for the better. They become less focused on their own wants and desires and more focused on those who often will not or cannot defend themselves.

    So, to the protestors I join with others in extending an invitation to attend one of the games or even volunteer. You would most definitely be blessed watching the children play. Additionally, you should try to get to know some of these “strangers” that love and support the children. You may discover they are people you would feel safe having your children around.

  11. Hal Goodtree
    Hal Goodtree says:

    Readers are reminded of our Comments Policy. All opinions are welcome but keep it respectful. Under no circumstances will we publish comments that are threatening or hateful.

    CaryCitizen Comments Policy.

    If we want a tolerant society, we have to build one.

  12. Wendy J
    Wendy J says:

    I’m quite sure there are some residents in Carrington who are appalled by the actions of their neighbors. I feel bad for them. I feel like their property values have, in fact, gone down. But not because of a park for ML. Who would want to buy a house in this neighborhood knowing that this sort of person will be their neighbor?
    And, really, if they were so concerned about the kids being near the powerlines for the length of a ballgame, where is their concern for their neighbors who have these same powerlines practically in their backyards?

    • Hal Goodtree
      Hal Goodtree says:

      Totally agree, Wendy – this is not an indictment of people of Carrington. In fact, a handful of protestors seem to be hijacking the good name of the community. Maybe someone from Carrington will start a counter-petition, get lots of signatures and settle the question.

  13. Ed St. Clair
    Ed St. Clair says:

    As the parent of a learning disabled young adult with Sotos Syndrome, I am appalled at the actions of some people.

    I wish we had something like the Miracle League in Pueblo when Andrew was young.

    He has been accepted by his peers since middle school; and was a valuable member of the Pueblo Symphony Orchestra and now the Gwinnett Sympony.

    It points out the need for us to educate the public. Several years ago, the “Pueblo Chieftain” wrote a two page article about our son and his capabilities.

  14. David
    David says:

    I have two special needs kids that play for this league. This sort of thing makes me completely sick to my stomach. To ruin a day for these kids is wrong. Once again a group has no respect for special needs kids and does not understand.

  15. Aunt Dee Dee
    Aunt Dee Dee says:

    As the aunt of a special needs child I am appalled that these people can be so cruel. They obviously have never seen the face of a child who has hit the ball and ‘run’ the bases when they score. Some just smile and wave at everyone and wave their cap they are so happy to have hit the ball and scored. It is wonderful that Kerr Y and ML are planning another field so that it will be more convenient for some plus make room for more children to play.

  16. Lisa Blocker
    Lisa Blocker says:

    I am the parent of a child who plays baseball with the Miracle League of the Triangle. I encourage these people that seem to think our children will bring their property values down to sit through ONE game. If you can sit through watching our children play baseball for one game and still think they should be hidden away from your lofty property values then you are deserving of a level of pity I can’t even muster! The joy in the faces of these children is priceless… the joy on the faces of the volunteers speaks volumes and the joy we as parents experience watching our children do something that seems so normal amidst all the things that they endure due to their special needs is undefinable. Shame on you for being small and petty, shame on you!

    • Sonya Summer
      Sonya Summer says:

      I would love to come support the Miracle League Ballgames! I have been so upset listening to the reaction of these people. I am a mother of a healty adult daughter so I guess I was blessed in this area. The parents of the SN children are so blessed to be able to provide these children with the stimulation and happiness that goes along with playing sports.
      You may contact me at
      Thank you,
      Sonya Summer

  17. Mikki Paradis
    Mikki Paradis says:

    First of all I want to thank Hal Goodtree for writing this article! As a long time coach of the Indians for the Miracle League I was beyond outraged at the actions of these homeowners and am relieved that the story of what these people did had gotten out!

    Second, what these people are really worried about is their property values. I suppose that they must all have been blessed with healthy children so they don’t understand the value that the Miracle League really has to offer. SO with that I am throwing out a challenge to all the homeowners that protested our game; our next season starts this September and I challenge you and your whole family to come out to my game and volunteer as buddies for the children on my team. If you have the guts to protest something you know nothing about, then I DARE you to come out and get educated on the VALUE that we bring to the lives of the children we work with. Let me show you how this ball field can be an asset to your community, let me show you how the children who play on our fields can change your heart, your outlook, and your life!

    Anyone who wants to come out can reply to this message and I will make sure you buddy my next game! Sorry Mr. George, no one with a criminal record is allowed to volunteer…

  18. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    I can see the other side of this. The families protesting the park are not protesting the children and the organization. They are truly concerned about the health risks involved with the propose site. Twice, the wake county school board denied requests to build a school on the same site becuse of potential health risks. These people have no problems with the children being in the neighborhood. I am by no means condoning the behavior of the protestors this weekend, but I think it’s very important to have both sides of the story. This article is not fair to both sides of the situation. It is skewed and slanted to make the families of Carrington look like awful people, when in reality they are doing nothing wrong. I think you should find out exactly what the situation is before reading one incorrect article and making a snap judgement.

    • Craig
      Craig says:

      What is the health concern that is being spoken of? Chemicals buried in the ground? Gas leak? It hasn’t been revealed in the article or your response?

    • Suzy
      Suzy says:

      How close are the powerlines to the homes in the neighborhood? I do not leave in Raleigh- but do have an interest in the area. But i would be interested in someone Adding to the report if there are any homes as close to the power lines as the proposed field will be. The incident with the assult has certainly turned me off to the “Carrington” neighborhood. The saying goes- one bad apples spoils a bunch…

    • David
      David says:

      Rebecca, regarding your comment of “doing nothing wrong”.. There is a HUGE difference between doing nothing illegal and doing nothing wrong. A “Special needs children’s event in CARY”… is not the place for a homeowners group to protest a development in a neighborhood in North raleigh. What that “man” (using the words very loosely) did was atrocious. But using that event to protest was just plain wrong.

      The SITE may or may not be a health risk, but showing up special needs children is lower than low.

      WOW is all I can say.

    • William
      William says:

      Definitely, I’m glad to see at least one person with some common sense. Anyway, I totally agree with you, I personally know the alleged defendant and his son and they are very nice Christian people. The article is very one sided and twisted.

  19. Deanna Graff
    Deanna Graff says:

    Those protesters are a bunch of sad & pathetic individuals! Shame on them!

  20. Carrie OBrien
    Carrie OBrien says:

    I help coach the Orioles and I value every minute of it. I am so fortunate to be able to take part in such a meaningful organization as the Miracle League. Maybe what that man should have done was bring his son and volunteer for a game just once, teaching his son to give of himself. It is a shame but the protesters are the ones with the disabilities greater than anyone involved in the Miracle League. You almost have to pity these people.

  21. Mark Taylor
    Mark Taylor says:

    Disgusting. Wow, just wow. Protesting a baseball league for special needs kids? Harassing families? videotaping people against their will? Making up false claims about health?

    It’s clear this group was simply looking for a fight, and this so-called “man”, Mr. George, set a fine example for his son by assaulting a female. I actually feel bad for his son, as he is clearly growing up with the wrong values at home.

    Any homeowner has the right to comment on/investigate something they perceive to have an impact on their neighborhood. But man, you’d think a topless bar was going in based on their complaints. How about civil discourse? Ruining a day for scores of special needs kids speaks volumes about the character of this crew. I can only hope that these yahoos represent a very vocal minority of the Carrington residents.


  22. Donna Beckmann
    Donna Beckmann says:

    The utter hypocrisy and double standard of American society and the mass media! Where is the outrage? Where is the Facebook page “One million people who want justice for the Miracle League”? I trust the national news outlets would be here if the protest was against the gay, Jewish, African-American, or Muslim community. Why are individuals with disabilities treated as second-class citizens or worse than that, less than human?

  23. Mary Carreno
    Mary Carreno says:

    What is wrong with these people? Not only is ML incredibly meaningful to people w/disabilities, it promotes cooperation and acceptance of diversity-geez. People w/o disabilities who volunteer get as much or more from the experience as the participants. And it is just joyful to watch…

  24. Angela pahn
    Angela pahn says:

    I think it is some people need to take a close look at themselves. It is a sad day when people want to protest a park for children with special needs

  25. Mary z
    Mary z says:

    Well, I think the article just speaks for itself! What a sad day for our community! What is even sadder the guy had his son with him so his legacy of beliefs will just carry on……. Tell him to go protest something that really matters!

  26. Ian Henshaw
    Ian Henshaw says:

    I’m really amazed at these people. Do they not know the utter joy of watching the children at these games? Would they prefer a lighted adult playing field instead with games going on well into the nights? I don’t know if any of them would accept an interview to find out what has transpired to get them to this point, but that would be a good follow up to the story.

    It was not in the story, but is Traci Brown ok after experiencing the assault? Traci is one amazing lady.

    Hal, thanks for reporting on this as I have not seen it anywhere else.

  27. Jackie Holcombe
    Jackie Holcombe says:

    Sad day, but also a reminder of how fortunate we are to be a part of Miracle League. Every season – every game, really – our players are greeted with open arms and open hearts. It’s easy to forget how far we’ve come until something like this surfaces. Sincere gratitude to the parents who came before us and who paved our way.

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