Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tulsa Church Throws in Towel over Negligence Lawsuit in Boxing Match Death

by Nomad

The death of young football coach after a charity boxing match has cost a Tulsa "rock and roll" church a small fortune. For the victim's family, it was a clear case of negligence.
Shouldn't somebody have asked whether a 12-round brawl was really the best way to raise money for a Christian organization?

Slug-Fest for Jesus

Oklahoma is the kind of place where, when it comes to either big business exploitation or church activities, just about anything goes. Absolutely nothing should surprise you. Even so, I was a little taken aback when I saw this news story in a Tulsa newspaper.
A Tulsa church's owners have settled a civil lawsuit filed by the family of a man who died in the wake of a boxing event at the church, a lawyer confirmed Tuesday.
The family of George Clinkscale III, a former TU linebacker, alleged negligence in a lawsuit against the church following the boxing event that featured untrained and unlicensed fighters.
A tragedy to be sure but the question that stuck in my head was: Who on earth thought a "slug-fest" was appropriate for a church?  (Isn't it carrying the Biblical passage "if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also" a bit too literally?)
Clinkscale died as a result of injuries he suffered in a boxing match at Guts Church's Fight Night VI, held in the church's parking lot in September 2011.
So apparently these events had been going on for years.

The twenty-four-year-old Clinkscale was pronounced dead in the early morning of Sept. 22, 2011, at St. Francis Hospital after boxing in the final bout. To compound the tragedy, the Former Tulsa Golden Hurricane linebacker left behind a 2-year-old daughter and a fiancée, who gave birth to his second child only a couple of weeks ago.

Unsanctioned and Unlicensed

The matches are targeted to young adults audience, males 18 – 30 years old. A normally hard to reach demographic for most churches. Advertisements for the annual boxing match had appeared on local billboards. The ringside tickets to the event reportedly ran for $50 bucks. (I do hope none of those ticket holders were splattered with blood. No kidding. Sweat and blood regularly splatter in the front row.) 
Church officials were quick to point out that the money from Fight Night events was donated to charity and that the church did not profit from the event.

Nevertheless, the events have raised a lot of question about how this could have ever happened. For example, according to another report:
George Clinkscale's father said his son had "never mentioned the church to me before. Ever. It's my understanding he was asked to do this as a favor to help them with a fundraiser."
Clinkscale family lawyer Lee Levenson alleged that the Church was at fault.
"They violated a rule for having an unsanctioned boxing match, without proper people to manage the fight, without pre-fight physicals, unlicensed referees … it's like if you got kids together in the neighborhood to beat each other to death and you wanted to charge an entry fee. It would be no difference."
This tragedy could have been prevented. It was the sixth time these box matches were put on and, apparently, nobody at the church had bothered to investigate the regulations.
In order for an amateur boxing event to be held in the state of Oklahoma it must be sanctioned by USA Boxing, the governing body approved by the State Athletic Commission in 1999. USA Boxing is the only sanctioning body authorized to sanction amateur events in the state of Oklahoma.
Officials in those organizations were unaware of the events. How it could have passed under the radar of the state authorities who oversee amateur boxing for six years is one of those Oklahoma mysteries, I suppose.

Tragedy in a Rock and Roll Church

As far as negligence, according to the court complaint, even when Clinkscale was "severely injured no medical help was available." Family lawyers claimed that although he was "in extreme pain and gravely in need of immediate medical assistance," which caused "great pain, suffering, mental anguish, and caused or contributed to the cause of his death," nothing was done.

A month later, Clickscale's family requested an unspecified amount (but more than $75k) and punitive damages from Guts Church and the pastors, Bill Scheer and Sandy Scheer.
Lawyers for the plaintiff wisely settled but both sides refused to give any details.

This would not be the first time that Scheer's "rock and roll church" has been questioned about its adherence to the teachings of Christ.  
From the looks of things, Scheer seems much more interested in putting on a show. Maybe it's a lot cooler than preaching about morality, and all that "forgiveness" and "tolerance" stuff. How can any of those things compete for the hearts and minds of young people that have been raised on vampire love stories, professional wrestling and fast and furious franchises?

Here's a video of a zombie Church event. And another Guts Church-sponsored event, Tougher than Hell Motorcycle Rally