In a press conference in which accusations of racism were suggested, Jesse Jackson called Little League International’s decision to strip the national title from the Chicago-based Jackie Robinson West little league team for using players outside its boundaries “persecution.”
“This is persecution,” said Jackson, who is planning to hold a rally for the team Saturday. “This is not right, it is unnecessary and it is not fair.”
While he agreed the adults involved should be punished, he argued, the kids on the team should not.
Another participant at the press conference at the Rainbow Push HQ, Fr. Michael Pfleger, directly accused the league of “racism,” saying, “I definitely believe racism is a part of this,” and calling on the league to “reverse” their decision “now.”
Players and parents also spoke up, including mother Venisa Green, who agreed that race played a role in the league’s actions despite the clear violation of rules.
“It is amazing to me that whenever African-Americans exceed the expectations, that there is always going to be fault,” said Green. “Little League says that they teach character and they teach courage, well this isn’t an act of courage and it sure isn’t an act of character.”