A team of 12-year-olds is being stripped of its Little League World Series U.S. Championship. That’s the sports controversy de jour after it was found that Jackie Robinson West, a team from the South Side of Chicago comprised of all African-American players, did some gerrymandering:
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.
So here’s what we have: A bunch of innocent kids are being told that their accomplishment doesn’t count because the adults in charge took winning Little League games way too seriously. If you’ve spent any time around Little League baseball, this should not come as a shock. Enjoyment of the game is often compromised by overzealous parents.
It’s still a bummer for those kids, but hopefully it won’t diminish their baseball ambitions. It’s no secret that baseball has struggled to appeal to African-Americans over the last few decades, with the number of black players in MLB dipping below 10 percent. The story of an all-black team winning a LLWS title, going to the White House to meet President Obama, and having a parade in its home town was certainly inspirational. Hopefully, it still is.