Little League Team Loses Title As U.S Champions

Jackie Robinson West Little League Team alongside President Obama and The First Lady. (chicago.cbslocal.com)

Jackie Robinson West Little League Team alongside President Obama and The First Lady.
(chicago.cbslocal.com)

It has been announced that the Jackie Robinson West Little League baseball team has been stripped of its U.S Championship and all of the teams 2014 wins have been vacated.

This loss of their championship title occurred after a Little League investigation found that the team “knowingly violated” league rules that prohibited the use of players who live outside the geographic area that the team represents. Or, in other words, outside of certain neighborhoods.

The Little League has found that the Jackie Robinson West formed an inaccurate map of its boundaries and joined with other teams in an effort to obtain additional territory that was not truly within the teams borders.

The team’s manager, Darold Butler, has since been suspended from taking part in Little League activity, and District 4 administrator Michael Kelly has been removed from his position.

As a result of the scandal, the U.S championship has been awarded to the Mountain Ridge Little League team of Las Vegas. The Little League International president and CEO Stephen D. Keener told ESPN:

“Quite honestly, we had to do this. We had no choice. We had to maintain the integrity of the Little League program… As painful as this is, it’s a necessary outcome from what we finally have been able to confirm.

The real troubling part of this is that we feel horribly for the kids who are involved with this. Certainly, no one should cast any blame, any aspersions on the children who participated on this team. To the best of our knowledge, they had no knowledge that they were doing anything wrong. They were just kids out playing baseball, which is the way it should be. They were celebrated for that by many, many organizations, many people. What we’re most concerned about today is that it’s going to be hard on these kids. And that’s the part that breaks your heart.”

President Barack Obama, who honored the team at a White House ceremony, also spoke out; saying that he continues to be proud of the team and that he only places blame on “dirty dealing adults.”

The Little League fosters policies that are designed to “preserve”  traditional community-based leagues in which classmates play with classmates and adds that it has taken this type of action against a team only three times in its 75 year history.

However, the team’s lawyers assert that the team are still the champions until all the facts are gathered in the case. The team’s lawyers say that the team has not been contacted by Little League International and that players, parents, coaches and organizers all learned of this while watching TV.

While it is all well and good that the League should enforce their rules, it is hard to explain how having children that live outside certain neighborhoods give a team a greater advantage.  Them living outside of the boundary doesn’t give them super powers, but whatever the case, rules are rules and in this instant the children are the real losers.

This post was written by Reginald Calhoun. He is a junior Mass Media Arts major at Clark Atlanta University. Follow him on Twitter @IRMarsean.

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