Tags: jackie robinson west | little league | stripped | title

Jackie Robinson West Team Stripped of Little League National Title

Image: Jackie Robinson West Team Stripped of Little League National Title
President Barack Obama (C-R) and First Lady Michelle Obama (C-L) meet with the Little League JackieRobinson West All Stars in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, November 6, 2014. (Pool/Oliver Douliery/EPA/Landov, file)

By    |   Wednesday, 11 Feb 2015 01:12 PM

The Jackie Robinson West Little League team was stripped of its U.S. Little League World Series title this week after officials found that the Chicago squad falsified its boundary map to recruit players outside its district.

The Wednesday announcement ruined the fairy tale season for Jackie Robinson West, which made history as the first all-African-American team to win the championship in August, Larry Brown Sports reported.

The title has now been awarded to Mountain Ridge Little League from Las Vegas, league officials announced Wednesday, according to ESPN. In addition, Jackie Robinson West manager Darold Butler has been suspended from all Little League International activities.

"Quite honestly, we had to do this," Little League International president Stephen D. Keener told ESPN. "We had no choice. We had to maintain the integrity of the Little League program."

Keener said that the worst part of the decision was the disappointment for the kids who likely had no idea that the adult volunteers had violated the rules.

"The real troubling part of this is that we feel horribly for the kids who are involved with this," he told ESPN. "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."

Chicago alderman Carrie Austin, whose ward covers the area where many of the players live, argued to the Chicago Tribune that it would have been better to punish the coaches and administrators and not strip the players of their accomplishments.

"They are still champions, and I believe people across this city will feel just like I do," Austin said. "Here's something that united us as a city, as a nation, and you want to strip that on a technicality?"

The issue of Jackie Robinson West's boundaries, which had been a hot topic in Chicago before, picked up steam again in December when a story on DNAinfo.com reported how West officials secretly changed the map to attract a handful of talented players it needed for its championship run.

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The Jackie Robinson West Little League team was stripped of its U.S. Little League World Series title this week after officials found that the Chicago squad falsified its boundary map to recruit players outside its district.
jackie robinson west, little league, stripped, title
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2015-12-11
Wednesday, 11 Feb 2015 01:12 PM
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