Louisville Slugger makers stop producing souvenir nightsticks for police foundation after mass protests

Hillerich & Bradsby Co., the makers of the iconic Louisville Slugger baseball bat, have stopped making commemorative nightsticks that look like the bat for the Louisville Metro Police Foundation to sell, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.

The foundation’s website had previously offered three different versions of the small, wooden nightstick at $59.99 each, designed for those looking to be “on the Louisville beat with Louisville’s legendary bat,” per the report.

The move comes following George Floyd’s homicide in police custody late last month, which has sparked both widespread protests and also a much larger conversation about racism and police brutality across the country. Louisville has seen significant demonstrations, too, after the death of Breonna Taylor.

Taylor, a Louisville-area EMT, was shot and killed in her bed around midnight on March 13 after police executed a search warrant at her apartment during a drug investigation. The police accounts of the incident, per The New York Times, have been hotly disputed ever since.

The company, per the report, had been making the souvenir nightsticks for “at least” 15 to 20 years. 

It said the issue of selling the nightsticks “came internally within the last 36 hours.” Instead, the company told the police foundation — which is independent from the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department — that it is “open to discussing other ways we may be able to support their organization’s efforts that benefit all of our community.”

“We have publicly condemned racism,” Rick Redman, Hillerich & Bradsby Co.’s vice president of corporate communications, told the Courier Journal. “We condemn police brutality in any form. We recognize the symbolism of nightsticks. 

“We are not a mass producer of nightsticks. The product offered through the Louisville Metro Police Foundation’s website is a commemorative item intended for display. LMPF has sold them over the years as a fundraiser. For historic perspective, the earliest reference in our archives to nightsticks goes back to the 1940s when we made them for Military Police during World War II.”

The makers of the iconic Louisville Slugger bats have stopped producing wooden nightsticks that look like the bats, something it had done for 15 to 20 years. (AP/Brett Barrouquere)

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