The Jackie Robinson West Little League team captured the hearts of the country and made history last summer for becoming the first African-American team to win the national Little League title.
But shocking news broke Wednesday morning that the Chicago team will be stripped of its United States title and must vacate wins from the 2014 Little League Baseball International Tournament for having players outside the geographic boundary that the team represents, a violation. The team's manager, Darold Butler, has also been suspended from Little League activity.
“For more than 75 years, Little League has been an organization where fair play is valued over the importance of wins and losses,” Stephen D. Keener, Little League International President and CEO, said in a press statement sent to BET Sports and other media outlets. “This is a heartbreaking decision. What these players accomplished on the field and the memories and lessons they have learned during the Little League World Series tournament is something the kids can be proud of, but it is unfortunate that the actions of adults have led to this outcome.
"As our Little League operations staff learned of the many issues and actions that occurred over the course of 2014 and prior, as painful as this is, we feel it a necessary decision to maintain the integrity of the Little League program," Keener added. "No team can be allowed to attempt to strengthen its team by putting players on their roster that live outside their boundaries.”
The Chicago-based team used a falsified boundary map last summer and allegedly had players on their roster from the suburbs, well past their regulated boundaries.
Jackie Robinson West captured the imagination and hearts of the country by defeating Las Vegas in last summer's U.S. title game before losing to Seoul, South Korea, in the Little League World Series championship game. After their memorable run, Jackie Robinson West was even honored by President Obama.
BET Sports News - Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)