Payton, Brooks College Preps Reschedule Forfeited Baseball Game

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 30, 2013 2:20PM

The baseball teams for Walter Payton and Gwendolyn Brooks College Preps have rescheduled the game Payton originally forfeited last weekend because several players failed to show up. Payton baseball coach William Wittleder told media Saturday that parents of the players didn’t want them to travel to Roseland for the game, which sparked cries of racism. Payton principal Tim Devine and Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman Kelly Quinn said the forfeiture instead was due to other factors, including a lack of communication by Wittleder and a lack of transportation to shuttle the team to and from Brooks.

The controversy was bad enough that CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett met with Devine and Wittleder to get their respective takes on the situation and to, as Quinn emailed the Sun-Times, “start the healing process between both school communities.”

Students at Brooks were comforted somewhat Monday when Mayor Rahm Emanuel showed up to watch a baseball game at their school, a gesture that Brooks principal D’Andre Weaver told DNAInfo Chicago made the student body “feel respected and loved.”

“Just his presence here made the community feel like they’re somebody,” Weaver added.

Roseland residents told WGN-TV they recognize their neighborhood has troubles but that it isn’t as bad as it’s being portrayed to be. A letter to the editor in today’s Sun-Times from Rev. Mark J. Krylowicz of St. Anthony of Padua Parish laid out the assets and disadvantages of the neighborhood and asked that, instead of castigating Payton, help make Roseland a better community.

"I have lived and pastored in this community for eight years. I know the sins of the community, but I also know its graces. Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep is one of our gems. Our alderman, Anthony Beale, to his credit, has guided its foundation, making it a cornerstone to the 'New Roseland.' This community has very efficient city services, great police and fire protection, terrific parks, a sufficient transportation network, schools that have picked themselves up and are serving the needs of this community, wonderful churches and ministers, a hospital that continues to serve the community to the best of its ability, and mostly hardworking residents who are trying to make a good life for their families."

The two teams will play their game this Saturday, May 4, at Brooks.