Minnis: Jackie Robinson West Little League Players Lose Out To Racism?

Repercussions and impact don’t always align. Indeed, there are instances when the time for a purported crime far exceeds what the penalty truly needs to be for it

Take the Jackie Robinson West Little League team from Chicago, stripped this week of their history-making 2014 title and obliterated from the annals of history, all based on a situation where none of the youngsters who actually wore the uniform had any role.

Little League officials have concluded several adult supervisors and administrators manipulated residential boundaries to the point of allowing players to play in a league and on a team they shouldn’t have been able to based on long and clearly stipulated rules.

You could argue a few rules may have been stretched here, but were the infractions really  so egregious that they now need to be so stringently enforced as to come at the expense of the worlds  of one of the universe’s most vulnerable and endangered species?

You can hardly deny that’s now the plight young African-American boys who comprised the Jackie Robinson West team now find themselves. All across the plain and particularly in Chicago neighborhoods where the boys of JRW first came together that is tragically and undeniably the case.

It’s not as if Jackie Robinson violated the laws of competition or sullied the spirit of the game by using older or in any other way players that were not eligible to compete in a league that they proved to be supreme in. In fact, that the youths who comprised the winning JRW roster were able to come together in a place and at a time where most everything else there seems stacked against them in terms of achieving what they did speaks to all the others like them who might dare to dream of excelling on the levels they demonstrated themselves capable of.

“As painful as it is, it is a necessary outcome for what we have been able to confirm, the real troubling is that we feel horribly for the kids who are involved in this,” said Little League International president and CEO Stephen Keener. “To the best of our knowledge they had no knowledge they were doing anything wrong.”

And still the committee found fit to stick it to a group of kids and an adoring  nation that embraced them to the point of finding renewed belief in themselves based on the heights their new, young heroes were able to rise to.

Still, spellbinding as their run may have been, not everyone was moved in the same way by it.

This is a racist attack,” said Chicago minister Michael Pfleger, adding that he’s convinced the team was signaled out primarily because they are made up of all African-American players and coaches. “You need to reverse this unless you’re going to go after all 16 teams. I can’t help but wonder the question of the same thing would have been done with another from another place, another race.”

Venisa Green looks at her son and his teammates and there is little doubt in her mind what’s behind all their ongoing troubles. The way she sees it Little League is going against everything they profess to stand for by inflicting this undue process on all the young and impressionable youths such as her son.

“Little League says that they teach character and they teach courage,” she said. “Well, this isn’t an act of courage and this isn’t an act of character. Brandon Green and his teammates, they earned the championship win and we will not stop until justice is done. The decision of Little League was not good enough until the powers that be bullied Little League into getting the decision that they ultimately wanted.”

Like a growing number of others, Green seems to view Little League officials resulting actions as their unyielding need to not have to deal with the fact that a group of African-America youths could come to rule what they in their own somewhat demented way still desperately hold to as America’s pastime.yielding need

Residency related issues were first raised in late August, soon after West had gone on to claim the game’s grandest chip. Little League official’s actions mark the third time the organization has moved to strip a championship caliber team of all of its victories. But in truth, you’ve never seen anything like this before.

In the end, the kids of Jackie Robinson West recently awoke to find themselves declared as less than the winners they proved to be, cast aside as less than the glowing examples of achievement they should be championed as. And that’s not because they were no good at what they were doing or bad for the game they were playing. Real talk, nothing could be further from the truth.

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Glenn Minnis
Glenn Minnis is an XN Sports NBA contributor. He has written for the Chicago Tribune, ESPN, BET and AOL. Follow him on Twitter at @glennnyc.