Jackie Robinson West's title being stripped is about race

OPINION - Little League has stripped Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West team of its U.S. Championship title. JRW’s coach has been suspended and so has their team manager...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Little League Baseball’s governing body has stripped Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West team of its title.

Jackie Robinson’s coach has been suspended, and so has their team manager, because they violated the rules that barred the use of players who live outside of the team’s geographic area.

The title will now be given to the Las Vegas team that JRW beat in the championship game.

There are very few times where the nation is cheering for our melanin-rich children the way everyone rooted for JRW. It felt like one of those Disney movies with the happily ever after ending where kids high fived as the credits rolled.

We desperately needed one in 2014, too, in a year filled with too many Black children laid out in the streets in pools of blood. The boys of Jackie Robinson West were a light in all that shadow. They were too much light, apparently, because they’ve been brought back down because of some technicality.

We just cannot have nice things. I am currently fighting the air like Cuba Gooding Jr. in Boyz in the Hood because I am so angry for what is happening here. Is this about race? ABSOLUTELY. If JRW was a team full of white boys, I have NO doubt that they’d overlook any rules broken.

The New England Patriots, newly-crowned Super Bowl champions, were found to play with deflated balls, but people are celebrating their win as if they didn’t just break a major rule that can impact play. Who knew that the Little League was actually more serious than the billion-dollar NFL? WHO KNEW?

I have questions. How many players who lived outside of the area were on JRW’s roster? How far did they live outside the area? What miserable cow made it their business to scan the roster and find this out?

Well, we found out that the person who randomly thought that JRW team MUST have broken some rule was Chris Janes, the coach of the Evergreen Park Little League team. He must have been butthurt about seeing these black boys dominate and create feel-good moments.

That is some world-class jerkitude for you to be so dedicated to bringing down a group of children.

The Chicago Tribune quoted Janes as saying, “It’s tough, but the kids will be OK.”


My spirit is irritated.

Am I saying that Black people are above the rules? Nope. In fact, we’re so gahtdamb below them that we can never ever ever ever ever ever break them. We cannot ever step outside of any boundaries because we must be kept in check constantly, and when we do step outside, punishment must come down hard and swift.

We are constantly being policed, and the people who need fewer lessons about the consequences for mistakes are Black boys, because as it stands, they are the most punished children. One more reminder was not necessary.

White people cheat their way to victory enough times where I am COMFORTABLE saying yes, this rule-breaking by JRW should have been allowed to ride. The United States of America is not a nation that was buiIt on fairness as a value.

This is not a meritocracy, but the only times people seem obsessed with righting some wrongs is when the “wrong” done was to a white structure and perpetuated by black and brown faces. That is the only time “justice” needs to happen, and that is why this is complete and utter rubbish.

As the Little League prides itself on “maintaining the integrity” of its organization, they’re destroying the morales of young children who EARNED the right to call themselves champions. My heart breaks not just from the mere fact that the title was taken from JRW but from the message that these boys might internalize from this.

Basically, if you work really hard and win, you might still lose. You have no room for mistakes ever because even the work you’ve done can be voided in one second. And, you, Black boy, cannot get it right no matter what you do. The odds are ALWAYS stacked against your favor, and even if you think you finally made it to the mountaintop, one dropkick and they will send you tumbling down.

Black boy joy is too few and far in-between, and Black boy wins don’t happen often, and Black excellence needs to be untarnished to be allowed to exist. The Little League didn’t just strip a title. They stripped these young boys of dignity and taught them a lesson that they are not good enough. My heart is in pieces for them.

This is about race, and if you disagree, you are wrong.

Luvvie is a professional troublemaker and writer who talks pop culture at Awesomely Luvvie, technology at Awesomely Techie and is the Executive Director of The Red Pump Project. She can also be found on Twitter (@Luvvie), Facebook and Instagram.