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Wounded Warrior Project Backpedaling on Gun Stance
After a few days of getting bludgeoned over the head with bad press and threats of recalled support wafting through the ether, Wounded Warrior Project has seen fit to pretend that it was all just a misunderstanding.
In an effort to clarify the WWP position, Professional Outdoor Media Association reached out to the organization for comment. After multiple request by phone and email, they finally responded to POMA. In typical fashion of organization caught red-handed with policies they obviously didn’t want exposed, WWP attempted to convince the public that is was all just a huge misunderstanding.
Thanks so much for reaching out to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) and for providing an opportunity to clarify matters. Let me start off by saying that we have seen through this process that the language on our website and our response to Mr. Gresham wasn’t clear and we are working on clarifying our approach. There is now much inaccurate information about WWP being anti-gun rights, an issue as an apolitical organization we do not take a stance on. We understand and appreciate that many of our Alumni are gun owners and we facilitate multiple hunting and outdoor opportunities for our Wounded Warriors throughout the year.
The response goes on to note that IN THE PAST WWP has allowed their logo to be used on guns, knives, etc. WWP representative Ayla Hay claims that “we’re not going to offer our logo to appear on weapons anymore – whether they’re guns, knives, bows, swords, or any other type of weapon” and that “this is purely a business decision based on a review of a return on investment, especially when compared with other types of cobranding ventures.”
That’s interesting. Let’s go back to what WWP said to Gun Talk Radio in refusing to come on their show.
WWP does not co-brand, create cause marketing campaigns or receive a percentage or a portion of proceeds from companies in which the product or message is sexual, political or religious in nature, or from alcohol or weapon companies.
Notice in that response that they merely quote a disclaimer verbatim from their site. The invitation to come on the show clearly had nothing to do with co-branding, but to highlight a supposedly-great organization that supports veterans during, um, Veterans Day!!
In the latest slight of hand, WWP wants you to forget what they originally told Tom Gresham as a reason for denying the interview request.
Regarding the question of donations and events, we do permit fundraisers that are shooting- and gun-related, such as gun raffles, shooting competitions, etc., and we’re incredibly appreciative of those who are willing to give their time to host or participate in an event. Likewise, we gratefully accept donations from companies and individuals connected with the gun industry.
However, this directly contradicts their policy of receiving “a percentage or a portion of proceeds from companies in which the product…from alcohol or weapon companies.” I mean, it’s pretty clear here what Wounded Warrior Project is saying. So, does WWP accept donations from “individuals connected with the gun industry” or not?
Here’s my analysis of the situation: the administrators of WWP that rely on the 55% of all donations that go to them instead of the wounded warriors they are purposed to support are afraid of losing that money. Not because it will affect their support of wounded warriors – because only 43% or so of donations go to them – but because they need to protect all those six-figure salaries. There has been an overwhelming backlash from donors that are upset with their position and their status is threatened. I think it should have been threatened nearly six years ago when they decided to start suing smaller organizations dedicated to also serving wounded warriors. Those actions alone told me everything I need to know about Wounded Warrior Project.
So, now WWP wants to go on Gun Talk Radio, but not to talk about their policies. “I hope the above provides some clarity,” said Hay. “We welcome the opportunity to have a warrior on Mr. Gresham’s show to discuss how hunting or events of the like have supported their recovery. We responded too quickly to his request and should have delved a bit deeper.”
The problem now is that this is no longer about how WWP does or doesn’t support wounded warriors (and I argue they don’t more than they do). This is now about their confusing and contradictory policies and stance on firearms. And Tom Gresham isn’t biting either.
This afternoon I issued a new invitation to WWP, though an email to Leslie Coleman, to be on my radio show to clarify your position on firearms. I note in your email your interest in being on the show. While it would have been appropriate last week to have a warrior on the show to talk about his or her activities with the WWP, at this point, the story is about your policy.
I would welcome any spokesperson from WWP on the show to talk specifically about the policy about firearms. I certainly will give you the floor to clarify your position. There are many questions, as you know. Nothing in my email exchange with Ms. Coleman was about cobranding. It was clear that the WWP would not appear on my radio show because we talk about firearms. That certainly is your prerogative. There is, however, much confusion with those who have donated to the Wounded Warrior Project (individuals and corporate donors) on what appears to be a discrepancy — WWP will not appear at events or talk to media when it’s about firearms, but WWP is okay with taking those donations.
Keep up with this interesting saga on the Gun Talk Radio Facebook page where updates are shared as they arise. I whole-heartedly support GTR here.
NRA board member Todd Rathner isn’t happy either, according to GT’s Facebook page.
Dear Ms. Coleman,
I am a member of the National Rifle Association board of directors. I have been made aware of the WWP’s policy of not associating with firearms companies, or the firearms industry.
I find this policy absurd. I want to inform you that as a member of the NRA board it is my intention to introduce a motion at our January board meeting to assure that the NRA does not promote, support, or in any other manner support the WWP. I will also request that the NRA’s 4 million members and their families are made aware of your anti-gun position.
Thank you for your time.
Keep in mind, this isn’t the official position of the NRA, just Todd’s opinion right now. But, I’m pretty sure this has WWP spooked as much as anything.
If you were once a supporter of Wounded Warrior Project and have decided they will no longer receive another cent from you, may I recommend two organizations that are worthy of that money instead? The Semper Fi Fund has created a second organization called America’s Fund and at the moment, they are focusing on family assistance grants so that family members can be at their servicemember’s bedside and not worry about a mortgage, lost pay, childcare, etc. America’s Fund is for all branches of the military whereas when Semper Fi fund was started to support wounded/injured and ill Marines, Corpsmen or any servicemember from any branch attached to a/ or in support of a Marine unit. Both are worthy recipients of money you would like to earmark towards helping wounded veterans and their families.
If you really want to stick it to WWP for their oppressive actions, may I recommend donating to Wounded Warriors Family Support? This is the organization that was started by Retired Marine Corps Reserve Colonel John Folsom as Wounded Warriors, Inc. They were sued by WWP because of the name. Both Wounded Warriors and Wounded Warrior Project were started at about the same time. However, WWP had aspirations to be a big organization and quickly went after big corporate sponsors. Wounded Warriors was more of a grass roots organization at the time. Eventually, John felt compelled to change the name of his organization to Wounded Warriors Family Support. This great organization provides support to the families of those who have been wounded, injured or killed during combat operations. The families of our casualties suffer in many ways: some financially, some psychologically.
Photo credits: An injured soldier receives help to change his shoes for the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride, New York, July 23. The bicycle ride through Manhattan is part of the organization’s goal to raise awareness for those who have been injured while fighting overseas. Photo by Sgt. Randall Clinton.