All African-American Little League team stripped of its US Championship


Jackie Robinson West, the first all African-American team to win a US Little League championship, has been stripped of its title.

Following a complaint filed by a suburban team that Jackie Robinson West beat 43-2 earlier in the season, the Little League Committee found that Jackie Robinson West “knowingly violated” rules by using players who lived outside the team boundaries.

In an email to Little League International obtained by Chicago, a neighboring south suburban league called on Little League officials to investigate whether Jackie Robinson West engaged in “manipulating, bending and blatantly breaking the rules for the sole purpose of winning at all costs.”

“We have very good reason to believe that [there] were several members of this team that did not live within JRW’s boundaries and, per Little League residency requirements, should not have been allowed on this team,” Evergreen Park Athletic Association vice president Chris Janes wrote.

Little League International CEO Stephen D. Keener released a statement:

“This is a heartbreaking decision. What these players accomplished on the field and the memories and lessons they have learned during the Little League World Series tournament is something the kids can be proud of, but it is unfortunate that the actions of adults have led to this outcome.

“As our Little League operations staff learned of the many issues and actions that occurred over the course of 2014 and prior, as painful as this is, we feel it a necessary decision to maintain the integrity of the Little League program. No team can be allowed to attempt to strengthen its team by putting players on their roster that live outside their boundaries.”

The focus is on the adults involved. In some cases the parents owned property within district lines, or had an address on their driver’s license within district boundaries.

Little League baseball captured viewers this summer with the emergence of Mo’Ne Davis throwing a shut out, and Jackie Robinson West’s dominant win.

Darold Butler, the coach for Jackie Robinson West has been suspended, Illinois District 4 Administrator Michael Kelly has been removed from his position, and the team must vacate all wins from 2014 Little League tournament, including the championship.
I feel bad for the kids.