SPRINGFIELD, IL â€“ Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) sponsored a resolution, which the Senate adopted, strongly urging Little League International to reinstate the Jackie Robinson West Little League teamâ€™s national title, earned last year but revoked after adults associated with the team came under league investigation.
â€œI cannot think of a better lesson to teach our young people than the lesson that hard work and good sportsmanship lead to success,â€ Collins said. â€œInstead, Little League International sent the message that even youth who demonstrate excellence, determination and character should be punished for the conduct of adults.â€
Jackie Robinson West, the first team with an all-African-American roster to win the U.S. title in the Little League World Series, took a positive image of Chicagoâ€™s South Side to the world stage, defeating a Las Vegas team before losing the world championship to Seoul, South Korea. Soon after the World Series, the league began investigating allegations that JRW team officials recruited players living outside the teamâ€™s boundaries. On February 11, they made the decision to strip JRW of its title and suspend the team from World Series play. Most of the playersâ€™ parents heard the news from media outlets, and Little League International leadership have declined to hear an appeal or meet with the team in Chicago.
â€œI am proud that my community supports these inspiring young men and continues to celebrate their accomplishments, and I am encouraged that so many of my Senate colleagues stood with them today,â€ Collins said. â€œWe are simply asking the league to come to Chicago, meet with the players and their families and reconsider the message they want to send to our youth.â€
A copy of Senate Resolution 176 will be sent to Little League International. Representative Monique Davis (D-Chicago 27th) sponsored similar legislation, House Resolution 166, which the House adopted March 10.