The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

The Adults Are Still Acting Like Children About The Jackie Robinson West Decision

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 12, 2015 2:45PM

The shouting has only begun after Little League Baseball stripped the Jackie Robinson West team of its U.S. championship Wednesday. And the adults continue to set a bad example for the kids they let down.

- Darold Butler, the JRW coach who was suspended by Little League Baseball after it was determined the team recruited players from outside its boundaries, said he was still proud of his players Wednesday night.

- Chris Janes, the Evergreen Park Athletic Association president who was the first to publicize JRW's false boundary map, smugly applauded the decision even as he's been receiving angry phone calls and death threats since Little League stripped JRW of the title.

“Good for Little League," Janes said Wednesday. "I feel like it’s a long time coming. We’ve seen the smoke for a little bit of time now. At the end of day, I’m glad they recognized that there were rules violations, and they’re holding them accountable."

Janes' Little League team lost to JRW 43-2 and Janes has led the charge for Little League to investigate the team for months. He says he has no regrets.

"Going forward, if anything comes out of this, Jackie Robinson West showed us all that it’s not very difficult to manipulate the most important rules in Little League," Janes said. "There’s got to be a way, and it won’t be easy, to put safeguards in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

"Because if it weren’t for one or two or three people coming forward, Jackie Robinson West would not have been held accountable for this. Cheating shouldn’t be so hard to prove."

- It's a certainty someone would call Little League's decision to strip JRW of its title racially motivated. Still, we were shocked at how fast Revs. Jesse Jackson and Michael Pfleger were able to find a bevy of news cameras as they joined JRW catcher Brandon Green, Green's mother Venisa and others at Rainbow PUSH headquarters to condemn the announcement. Venisa Green said Little League was "bullied" into its decision.

“It is amazing to me that whenever African-Americans exceed the expectations, that there is always going to be fault,” Venisa Green said. “Little League says that they teach character and they teach courage, well this isn’t an act of courage and it sure isn’t an act of character."

Brandon Green said, “we know that we’re champions, our parents know that we’re champions and the team’s parents know we’re champions and Chicago knows we’re champions,” while Pfleger called on Little League to reverse its decision.

- Even President Obama weighed in on the news. Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said the president was proud of the players and what they accomplished, but that it was tainted by "some dirty dealing by some adults."

- A Little Italy T-shirt shop is capitalizing on the news by making "Still Champions" T-shirts.

- One thing that hasn't been discussed among the sturm und drang is what will happen to the over $200,000 in donations JRW received after its Little League World Series run. Little League doesn't have the authority to demand JRW return the money, or if the team will even consider that. There's been talk of setting up a scholarship fund for the players but it's unknown if that has happened. As part of the sanctions, JRW president Anne Haley and treasurer Bill Haley have been relieved of their duties.

Venisa Green said during the Rainbow PUSH news conference she heard the South Korean team that beat JRW in the Little League World Series finals would receive $100,000 scholarships and that it isn't fair that her son and other JRW players would incur debt to attain a college education. Critics of Little League's decision have argued these things happen all the time.

Maybe they do. But it was Jackie Robinson West who were ultimately caught and punished for this. If Venisa Green, Jackson, Pfleger and others want to find someone to channel their anger toward, they should start with Butler, the Haleys and District 4 administrator Michael Kelly, who orchestrated and approved the fake boundary map.