The scandal surrounding the Jackie Robinson West little league baseball team has given way to threats of legal action from the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Yahoo! Sports reports that Jackson is calling for Little League International to return the U.S. World Series championship to the 12-year-old members of the team after the team was stripped of its title. If the league doesn’t comply, Jackson stated Wednesday that he may bring a lawsuit.
The organization’s ruling Wednesday comes after months of allegations surrounding ineligible players and illegally redrawing its league boundaries resulted in Jackie Robinson West vacating its wins and the team’s coach being suspended, in addition to losing the title.
The all-black team captured the heart of the nation and support from MLB players during its run to the Little League World Series. Despite becoming U.S. champions, Jackie Robinson West ultimately lost to South Korea in the international title game. The Chicago-based team’s efforts were still rewarded as team members gained fans from all over, including the White House.
Nevertheless, the allegations, which were brought forth by Evergreen Park Little League coach and vice president Chris Janes, hounded the team. According to Yahoo, Janes threatened in a letter written months ago to Little League International to bring legal action himself if the organization didn’t look investigation his allegations. In addition to the letter, Janes spent months bringing his efforts to various media outlets in order to get Little League to re-check where exactly the Jackie Robinson West players lived.
Upon hearing what happened to the team, Jackson voiced his feelings about the situation, telling the Chicago Sun Times Wednesday that he was driven to tears by the decision.
“There’s nothing these kids have done to have their championship erased,” Jackson, who called for a “Reaffirmation of Championship” ceremony for the JRW players on Saturday morning . “I hope the Las Vegas team will have the strength of character not to accept.”
At a press conference held with Jackie Robinson West team members and Chicago pastor Michael Pfleger, who is white, Jackson made his intent known by telling Little League International to reverse its decision.
They had no problem bringing up the issue of race. Jackson asked, “Is this boundaries or race?,” Jackson asked as Pfleger said, “I definitely believe racism is a part of this.”
For his part, Janes gave his two cents Wednesday as he told reporters, “It’s tough, but the kids will be OK.”
Chatting with DNA Chicago‘s Mark Konkol, Janes revealed the extent to which his crusade against Jackie Robinson West has cost him. According to him, Little League’s decision against the team has resulted in him receiving death threats and nasty e-mails.
“We got about 50 messages,” he told DNAinfo Chicago. “I only listened to a few. Some were gibberish … saying things like ‘You’re an a——.’ A couple said, ‘You deserve to die.’”
Although he’s had opposition thrown his way in the form of “s—– emails and voicemails,” Janes added that he’s “not really concerned” about it.
After all, he does have the support of the local police.
(Photo Source: AP)