A Question of Fairness or Racism? Chicago Little League Stripped Of Title Due To Cheating

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 9.24.24 AMChicago-based Jackie Robinson West Little League team was riding a crest of success this month, including a photo op with President Barack Obama, when it came crashing down in a very messy cheating scandal. The team was accused of effectively stacking the team with ringers from outside of their district — a serious infraction for such teams. The first all-African-American team to win the U.S. championship was stripped of its honor in favor of Mountain Ridge Little League from Las Vegas. In the meantime, there is a suggestion from at least one Chicago leader that the action against the team is racist.

After the championship, the league officials were told of the allegations for the first time despite the fact that the team managers were aware of the violations. Team manager, Darold Butler, has been suspended from Little League activity and Illinois District 4 Administrator Michael Kelly has been removed from his position. The League found that the team used a falsified boundary map and that there was a conscious effort to stack the team with top ineligible players. No Bill Belichick is not the part-time coach.

Jackie Robinson West lost to Seoul, South Korea after beating Las Vegas 7-5 in the U.S. title game.

National league officials were reportedly shocked when, in January, local officials admitted that they knew of the violations. The rules are quite clear. Indeed, in 1992, a title was stripped from a team from Zamboanga, Philippines Zamboanga used several players that lived outside its district or were over-age. Likewise, in 2001, a third-place team from the Bronx, N.Y., was stripped for using ineligible players though that was due to an age disqualification.

These types of violations always raise an interesting question of liability. The actions of these officials, rather than the players, are at issue. Their knowing violation of the rules not only led to the heartbreaking stripping of these kids of their title, but make the real winner in Las Vegas feel like they are merely default victors. It also negated past expensive trips and games where hundreds of players and parents worked for championship titles. The league itself has a defense in relying on the good-faith of local officials. However, the local officials cost the league and various families dearly in their effort to rig the competition. Those officials in some ways got off lightly in simple suspensions as opposed to facing the financial and emotional costs of the violations.

In the meantime, Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Push Coalition has denounced the action as unduly harsh. It is unclear how Jackson believes the team should be allowed to remain champions after winning with ineligible players. How is that far to the Las Vegas team and other teams?

Yet, Rev. Michael Pfleger takes it further in stating “I can’t help but question whether the same thing would have been done with another team from another place — another race.” The answer appears to be yes. The league has taken such action in the past with non-African American teams.

Source: ESPN

67 thoughts on “A Question of Fairness or Racism? Chicago Little League Stripped Of Title Due To Cheating”

  1. @Edward: “I stopped reading as soon as I read Jesse Jackson was involved.”

    So, you read the entire post except for the last two, short paragraphs! ; )

    1. William Berry – Jesse Jackson’s name is a show stopper for me, too. 😉

  2. Edward, You’re a man of the world. Just read his comments. He’s the guy in the bar that hates everything and everybody.

  3. TJustice-Before you say anything else that is patently false, you might want to peruse through this blog’s archives. Where you will find a multitude of articles about mass incarceration, police slayings, education, etc.

  4. TJ, The Midnight Malcontents don’t comment usually until later. But, can we add one parent families, drugs and alcohol, not reading, rap music, you know PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY to your list of problems in the black culture? Some folks just live for negativity. And, you are one of them.

  5. Inga,
    “I’ve seen the suburban parents around here forcing their kids into sports they hate and don’t do well in, it’s so sad”

    Another example of where the parents are the problem. 🙁

  6. So this is the story the blog uses to discuss race in this country. Not mass incarceration, education, police slayings, or new forms of segregation. But baseball. About as noble as Sharpton and Jackson…

    1. TJustice – most of us don’t think racism has anything to do with the decision. They cheated, they pay.

  7. In the fall, pickup tackle football. No freakin’ pads. I would come home from organized football practice in high school and still play pickup football. It was MUCH more fun than organized. Hell, when I wore pads in organized football it felt “sissified.” There’s a non PC word from the past, “sissified.”

    1. Nick – nothing like being tackled on a cold fall day with no equipment on and hitting that hard ground. It is like playing on concrete. The concussion are just so special. 🙂

  8. Jim, ABSOLUTELY. For every hour I played in organized baseball I played 25-30 hours or more playing pickup. Or, just throwing a ball against a schoolyard wall and catching it. I didn’t have an older brother, but like you, I always played w/ older guys.

  9. Kids simply do not play pickup games unless it’s inner city kids and basketball. I LOVED baseball and played from the time I got up until dark during the summer. I organized kids, knocked on doors to get kids to come out. I made sure we had a ball, bat, etc. The skills that kids obtained playing pickup games were much more important than the athletic skills.

  10. Paul C.,
    Sounds fun! I lived out in the country, so we only had our “sandlot” baseball when all of us cousins got together.

  11. As far as organized sports for kids, let hem try them all if they want to. The ones they naturally excell in and enjoy should be one of the one or two they particate in. I’ve seen the suburban parents around here forcing their kids into sports they hate and don’t do well in, it’s so sad. My grandson has tried several different sports and has focused on skiing and rugby and loves them both. My granddaughters also ski and my littlest granddaughter started out on skis when she was four years old, by begging mom and dad. No forcing or pushing.

  12. Prairie Rose

    I like the idea of old tires for bases. With these sports heroes getting millions of dollars a year, they should have to navigate a few obstacles like tires and perhaps a log or two.

  13. For me, Little League was just a place for me to show off the skills I had learned playing with my older brothers at home.

  14. “My point is the problems start when the focus moves from the kids to the adults running the stuff.”

    Reminds me of a book (looking at the illustrations, maybe from the 70s?) about kids who played ball in a sandlot, using old tires for bases and letting really little kids bat until they hit something. Then the parents got involved and put in real bases and made teams and uniforms and regular practices. The day of the first game all the parents showed up at the newly made bleachers, but nary a kid was to be found. They had all gone off and found another empty sandlot to play ball and have fun. 🙂

    1. Prairie Rose – I lived across from a grade school and in the spring we would play baseball almost every night before dinner. As kids would show up they would be assigned to one or the other team (fairness of athletic quality was the divider). We did have different strike out rules for the younger kids, they got more strikes and got pitched to the strike zone. Older kids were on their own. 🙂 By dinner time there would be 12-14 on a side.

  15. Nick

    Tocqueville traveling through today’s America would be no Tocqueville. Today’s America is nothing like Tocqueville’s America. Tocqueville is as much remembered for his being the first to do what he did, at a time America began to be something with an identifiable and recognizable patina, that of its democracy, which at the time was nothing comparable to today’s, as for his literary skills. Of course I am no Tocqueville, neither given as simplistic a society to review nor with equal literary skills.

    There is one main reason there has been no one as distinct as Tocqueville, since that time, times have changed. Someone like him who advocated the separation of the races and was more a scientist than journalist, would not do so well these days. There is not much of the scholastic nor the scientific approach on this Blog. We are all, merely expressing our opinions, to our selves. Fact, soccer is the greatest game in the world today. I like soccer. Opinion-who are these people trying to shove soccer down your throat? Baseball can be a picnic at times and also have all that intensity hissing by you. Like American football, there is nothing, build up, and explosion, like Cricket, although they don’t use gloves in Cricket.

  16. Baseball is part picnic? ANY athlete will tell you the MOST difficult thing in sports is trying to hit a major league fastball. Amongst it all is FEAR. I have never faced a major league pitcher. But, I have stood in on pitchers who throw mid to upper 80’s. The white ball is dark! It hisses like a snake. I posit one of the reasons less kids play baseball now is there is no hiding like in other sports. Three, four, five times a game you have to step up there are face a ball coming @ you REALLY fast. I’ve got hit by fastballs, it REALLY hurts. I was a pitcher. I understood the fear of hitters, having that fear myself. I could tell the hitters who were too fearful. I owned them.

  17. Isaac, I absolutely agree ANY country can learn from people outside their own country. I have studied Tocqueville and respect his observations on the US. You are no Tocqueville, no disrespect intended. I would hope you would concede that.

  18. Isaac, I AGREE soccer is the number one sport in the world. I just hate it and as much as people try and shove it down our throats, I hate it even more. The World Cup is the premiere sport event in the world. I accept that. I still hate the sport and we both agree, FIFA is a joke.

Comments are closed.