Suddenly, Chicago’s feel-good story of 2014 doesn’t feel so good any more. Instead, it feels awful. On Wednesday, Jackie Robinson West (JRW), the all-star, all African-American Little League team from the city’s South Side that captured the hearts of Chicagoans by making it all the way to the Little League World Series championship game before losing to South Korea, was stripped of its U.S. title for knowingly using ineligible players.
According to a release by Little League International, JRW used a “falsified boundary map for their 2014 tournament,” allowing them to get players who otherwise would not have been eligible to be on the team. In other words, the coaches cheated.
Needless to say, this is a major bummer for almost everyone, but especially for the kids, who played their hearts out during their special tournament run. Little League International President Stephen Keener said as much in announcing the penalty.
In this day and age an admittedly tough lesson about honesty, integrity, and abiding by rules of fair play is too much for some people to stomach.
And, this being Chicago — home of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH Coalition — it took a mere couple of hours before a bad situation was made worse by some injecting race into the lineup.