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New Controversy Around Manning’s ’18’ At Greeley Elementary

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CBS4's Lane Lyon talks with Pam and Konner Vanatta (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Lane Lyon talks with Pam and Konner Vanatta (credit: CBS)

GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) – There’s a new twist in the controversy surrounding Peyton Manning’s number “18” at a Greeley elementary school.

First it was a jersey, but now a Greeley parent is fired up about a school fundraiser.

Eight-year-old Konner Vanatta’s Peyton Manning jersey landed him on national news last week.

“We should be able to wear any jersey we want,” he said.

Konner’s mother says the third-grader’s school required him to change out of his number 18 jersey, claiming it violates the district’s 4-year-old dress code which bans numbers associated with area gangs. Manning’s number 18 is not allowed.

“I wasn’t aware of the number policy,” Konner’s mother Pam Vanatta said.

Pam says her surprise continued when Konner brought home a school fundraising packet just two days later.

“They were selling Peyton Manning merchandise, which really upset me,” she said. “I was livid at that point.”

Along with other Colorado sports team items, there are products like Manning pennants and mugs that show Manning wearing number 18.

“There’s like a water bottle on there, and you’re allowed to bring water bottles to school, but not that one because it has an 18 on it,” Konner said.

Pam believes it’s a double standard to say no to Manning’s jersey.

“But then send home literature with kids with one whole page of Peyton Manning merchandise and expect them to raise money for the school,” she said.

Don’t get Pam wrong, she’s a Manning fan all the way, but worries the school is sending the wrong message.

“They should not be benefitted by selling merchandise that’s banned from their school.”

The school district says this not about Peyton Manning. A statement on its website explains that gang activity has been reduced since banning some colors and numbers. The parent group coordinating the fundraiser referred CBS4 to the school principal, but CBS4 was unable to make contact with her.

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