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Little League has stripped the U.S. title from Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West Team for allegedly allowing players who didn’t live in the proposed city limits to play for the team.

ESPN Chicago reports:

The Jackie Robinson West team, the first all-African-American team to win the championship, must vacate wins from the 2014 Little League Baseball International Tournament — including its Great Lakes Regional and United States championships.

The team’s manager, Darold Butler, has been suspended from Little League activity, and Illinois District 4 Administrator Michael Kelly has been removed from his position.

The organization found that the Jackie Robinson team used a falsified boundary map, and that team officials met with neighboring Little League districts in Illinois to claim players and build what amounts to a superteam.

As a result, the United States championship has been awarded to Mountain Ridge Little League from Las Vegas.

“For more than 75 years, Little League has been an organization where fair play is valued over the importance of wins and losses,” Little League International CEO Stephen D. Keener said in 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.”

Jackie Robinson West drew significant attention as it advanced to the tournament’s title game, where it fell to Seoul, South Korea. In a sport that increasingly struggles to attract African-Americans, the team representing Chicago’s South Side emerged as a force, beating Las Vegas 7-5 in the U.S. title game.

The Chicago players were lauded for not just their prowess on the field but also for their sportsmanship, and they later were honored by President Barack Obama at the White House.

Little League embraces policies designed to preserve traditional community-based leagues in which classmates play with classmates, friends with friends.

“Little League takes these matters very seriously and has spent countless hours gathering information about the many issues facing Jackie Robinson West Little League and Illinois District 4,” Keener said. “During our review, it became clear that both Jackie Robinson West officials and District Administrator, Mike Kelly signed documents to make players eligible who should not have been.”

The national organization said it was Kelly’s responsibility to verify player eligibility based on player information that is gathered and signed by the league president, player agent and team manager.

Little League also said that it wasn’t until meetings in January that local league officials acknowledged that they knew of the violation, but had never reported it to Little League International.

Unfortunately, no allegations against Jackie Robinson West Little League were made until well after the tournament ended, contributing to the difficulty of resolving these many complex issues,” Keener said. “As an organization, Little League has faced issues similar to this in the past, and we felt that we must take the appropriate action set by that precedent.”

Jackie Robinson West isn’t the first team to have its Little League title stripped. In 1992, Little League baseball took away the title from Zamboanga, Philippines, and handed it to Long Beach, Calif., after using several players that lived outside its district or were over-age. In 2001, a team from the Bronx, N.Y., that finished third was forced to forfeit its games after pitcher Danny Almonte was revealed to be over-age.

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(Photo Source: Fox)

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22 thoughts on “Little League Strips U.S. Title From Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West Team

  1. specialt757 on said:

    Their skills are what make them champions, it’s unfortunate that the adults did the wrong things. Now the children have to be punished. The “sins of the father…

  2. Those children did not knowingly cheat, this is an adult problem. If we are going to take the championship form little kids, than we should take the Superbowl from the Patriots who knowingly cheated, and not for the first time. Punish the adults in this situation, but don’t punish the children. I think this is simply BS.

      • Our children has been suffering at the bad and wrong decisions for years. Now is the time to teach them accountability and its not abut the Patriots that only teach them if they do so should you. The consequences can be Jail. I expect that reasoning from a black woman.

  3. Your not champions if you cheat. If you are knowingly pulling kids in that are out of your district then how do you claim to be winners? I feel for the kids because the adults failed them.

  4. UNFORTUNATE THAT ADULTS DID NOT DO WHAT THEY WERE SUPPOSE TO DO… JRW are still champions because they beat them fair and square on the field WITH SKILL and they were embarrassed!! They need to check Las Vegas team for steroids because those kids looked like they were in high school… JRW STILL CHAMPIONS….

  5. That’s America for you. When you are better at something over them, they will find something on you to try and bring you down/change the rule of the game(s).

    • @EIB: “they” who????!!!! Are you suggesting that it’s ok for grown A people to (probably) knowingly defy the rules?? The adults in this aren’t setting a good example for the kids. I see no reason whatsoever to defend the adult cohorts.

  6. This is heartbreaking. They are stripping away their title but to me they are still Champions. Who ever felt the need to pursue this after all this time is just sad.

  7. Reginald Wyche on said:

    The “First” All-Black Little League Team to win it all is at least the third minority team stripped of its title. I find it hard to believe that the surrounding districts had issues with the “altered” district map. I think it was the boys from Vegas that had this investigation re-opened. Our success has to always be tainted with drama. At least they were all within the right age range this time. Take a look at the team photo of our new US champs…I smell a rat!!

    • Take up a collection and send 2000 dollars to a defense fund people since we are always being wronged. Stop complaining. Set up a go-fund me account and give something since you know they are doing us wrong and its not our behavior. I’ll contribute after you.

  8. Timekeeeper on said:

    They are still the champions in my book. Mountain West has absolutely nothing to celebrate, I wouldn’t want to win a trophy like this. This is nothing new to people of color though. Since the beginning of time, AmeriKa as always attempted to water down their accomplishments.

    • Ok Timekeeper…..lets keep it real! In reality this has NOTHING to do with “Amerika.” Time out (pun intended)….for blaming everything on the white man (which is what it appears you are eluding to). And, yes I’m Black

  9. They need to release the specifics of their findings, because they were investigated twice and nothing was found. We can’t continue to silence hope in our children.

    • MsVanese on said:

      I was thinking the same thing. Found not guilty of this TWICE, now all of a sudden they aren’t the Champs. Hmmmm. I did ask if they had lost would it have been an issue?

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