ATLANTA - There has been a strong backlash on social media after Tuesday night's 11Alive News story about an Atlanta gym owner's 'No Cop' policy.
"We've had an explicitly stated 'no cop' policy since we opened, and we also don't open membership to active members of the military," said EAV Barbell Club owner Jim Chambers.
Since the story appeared, news outlets have shared it across the nation, and some people who read or viewed the story have been calling and wanting the gym to end its "no cop" policy. However, many of them have been calling the wrong gym.
In Google, when you look for "East Atlanta Gym," the first listing that pops up is "Village Fitness" -- not "EAV Barbell Club."
Village Fitness has been in the East Atlanta Village community for much longer. They have received calls and people walking in, asking them about the "no cop" sign since hearing about the story on Tuesday.
"I'm like, wait a second -- that's definitely not us," said Tara Perry of Village Fitness. "We do not feel that way."
Village Fitness is around the corner from EAV Barbell Club, but their policies couldn't be more different. While EAV Barbell Club wants no cops on their premises, Village Fitness welcomes them.
To make their message even more clear, Village Fitness put out a sign on Wednesday -- in front of the building for gym members and passersby to see.
It says "We Support Police and Our Military."
"When you think of an EV gym, people think of us -- Village Fitness. We've been here so long, we're established with the community," Perry said. "We support our local police and military. We offer discounts for them."
The owner of Village Fitness says he plans to keep the sign up in one form or another for the foreseeable future.
While the owner of the other gym -- Jim Chambers of EAV Barbell Club -- says he plans to put his sign back up soon.
11Alive News spoke with the International Brotherhood of Police Officers on Wednesday about the anti-cop sign at EAV Barbell Club.
"I don't understand why you'd put a sign like that up at all," said the organization's southeastern director, Vincent Champion, who is also an Atlanta Police Officer.
"Without talking to the man, this appears to be hate for law enforcement and for what reason? Are you doing something illegal?" Champion asked. "We will do our job. We've taken that job to serve and protect and we will do that no matter what you think of us."
In an email to 11Alive News, Champion has challenged Chambers to a fist fight for charity.11Alive News, Champion has challenged Chambers to a fist fight for charity.
PHOTOS | Atlanta gym posts controversial sign
He says he wants to battle the East Atlanta gym owner inside the boxing ring as part of a charity event. That way, they can challenge each other for a good cause, then talk about bridging the gap.
Chambers laughed when 11Alive's Faith Abubey told him about the police officer's challenge. He said he wanted to know if it would be a fair fight before deciding if he would accept it.
We will keep you updated as to whether or not Chambers will accept the challenge.
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