There is nothing worse than children suffering at the hands of an adults’ wrongdoing.
Fourteen boys made up the Jackie Robinson West Little League team that claimed the American National Title at the 2014 Little League World Series. The team went on to represent the United States in the Championship game against a team from North Korea. Though the Jackie Robinson West team lost the championship, they showed the world that an all-black boys team 11- to 13- years old from Chicago’s South Side could accomplish incredible feats despite the odds.
Unfortunately, a cheating scandal has now overshadowed the team’s success. On February 11th, 2015, the 14 young baseball players from the Chicago’s South Side were punished and humiliated in the national spotlight. The team was forced to vacate all of their wins because of rule violations by team officials, managers, and coaches.
It was determined by Little League International Charter/Tournament Committee that “the Jackie Robinson West league and Illinois District 4 administration knowingly violated Little League International Rules and Regulations by placing players on their team who did not qualify to play because they lived outside the team’s boundaries.”
In other words, 14 talented and innocent ballplayers were punished for the actions of a few adults that were caught cheating.
The decision that was reach by the Little League’s committee is almost as inexcusable as the cheaters’ actions. Those children played their hearts out. They played great fundamental baseball, worked as a team, and accomplished incredible things on the baseball diamond. Administrators cheated and then the league committee punished the kids. There is absolutely no reason to take away what those boys accomplished.
The only acceptable actions would have been to punish those administrators that were responsible for violating the league rules. Fines, suspensions or termination would have been acceptable forms of punishment because they do not affect the innocent kids. Fines were handed out and some official were fired, but it went too far when they decided to take away the accomplishments of the Jackie Robinson West Team.
Baseball has always been called a kids game, lets keep it that way.