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Parents in one Maryland town are outraged after six youth football teams were disqualified from playing and they believe it’s because the kids are Black and would play against the opposing teams, which are white.

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The Reisterstown Mustangs Youth Football organization believe racism is a factor after they were suddenly disqualified from playing and not given a reason or warning. The decision now leaves 150 kids of color between the ages of 5-13 without an opportunity to play a game that they love.  

In a statement, Carroll County Youth Football and Cheerleading League officials however said it was due to “several behavioral concerns.”

Parents from a Reisterstown youth football organization don’t believe that to be true.

“I hate to say ‘racism,’ but when they give you no other reason, what else can you come up with?” said Rachel Bullock who still hasn’t told her 8-year-old son that the youth football league he plays in won’t let his team compete.

“I have no answers for him,” Bullock said. “ ‘Because they said so?’ He will be devastated.”

The Carroll County Times reports that the six Mustangs teams are majority black, while teams from the other 10 organizations in the Carroll County Youth Football and Cheer League are majority white.

The league issued this statement: “Emotions tend to run high during playoffs, therefore, the league elected not to risk the safety of the participants and in an attempt to promote a safe conclusion to the season, the league’s programs voted to remove the Reisterstown program at the end of the regular season and prior to the playoffs.”

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“CCYFCL is a ‘good old boy’ network which only tolerates a majority African-American youth football organization as long as we know our place and don’t have too much success,” the Mustangs’ president, Marquita M. Melvin, said in an email to the Carroll County league.

 “The Reisterstown Mustangs have been around for over 40 years. They’re not going anywhere,” she said.

Jeff R. Degitz, director of the county’s recreation and parks department, said agency officials “have no tolerance for discriminatory action.”

“There should be a review,” he added. “There will be conversations with the four teams that play in the league — was there anything they saw that was inappropriate?”