HOLLYWOOD, Fla.—Today, Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, and who is in Florida at an American Federation of Teachers Executive Council meeting, issued a response to the decision to revoke Jackie Robinson West’s Little League championship:
“I do not respect the decision of Little League International because the officials have not respected the ethical and emotional well-being of the children involved in this matter. The young men of Jackie Robinson West brought their talent, skills, smarts and hearts to the playing field and captivated a nation by securing a national championship for themselves and our city,” Lewis said.
“That adult Little League officials failed to thoroughly investigate allegations in a timely manner, and therefore allowed these boys to play throughout the season, even as they continued to advance to the World Series, is reprehensible. To strip Jackie Robinson West of its title nearly six months after securing the win tarnishes the efforts of our children who have dodged bullets, school closings and reductions in their school athletic programs in order to compete and win on the playing field.
“I stand with parents, youth, teachers and community members who are outraged by this Black History month smack in the face by people with no regard for the young lives impacted by this. The boys are now being labeled and humiliated as “cheats” and are being made scapegoats due to the folly of grown men.
“I remain proud of our students securing their place in history as the first all-African-American Little League team to win the coveted Little League national championship. It is not lost on my community that they are named for a sports and civil rights icon that also had to break down barriers of racial hatred, segregation and the 1 percent’s total disregard for his right to exist as a human being.
“Jackie Robinson West should retain its title, be issued an apology, and every player should receive full-ride scholarships for college sponsored by the people who have humiliated these boys, their families and their community.”