Why Our Children Will Grow Up To Be Cheats and Liars: The Little League Champs Are Banned For Cheating, And Are Told That They Should Be Proud Anyway

Littel League champs

When the Tom Brady/ Bill Belichick/New England Patriots cheating issue was at high pitch [Aside: Notice how we have heard nothing about this at all since the Super Bowl, which the Patriots won. This is why NBC thinks it will get away with not firing Brian Williams…both the news media and the public have the attention span of closed head injury victims, especially when it comes to liars, cheaters and betrayal. They call this phenomenon “America’s belief in redemption.” It is actually is a product of America’s crippling domination by chumps, dolts, suckers….and people who are liars and cheats themselves.], a friend of mine brushed it all off saying, “It’s a game.” Well, children learn a lot about ethics from games, and if they learn that adults think cheating is acceptable (never mind that a billion dollar business is hardly just a “game”), they will cheat in their games, and later in life.

Today we learn that the inspiring 2014 Little League Champions, the Jackie Robinson West team that was the first all-African-American team to win the tournament, has been stripped of all of its wins, including those from its Great Lakes Regional and United States championships. As a result, the United States championship has been awarded to Mountain Ridge Little League from Las Vegas.

A Little League investigation revealed that the Jackie Robinson team, which was supposed to field a team exclusively from the Chicago South Side, secretly used an expanded boundary map. Team officials conspired with neighboring Little League districts  to build what was essentially an all-star team by acquiring players from well beyond the South Side.

The disgrace ruins what had been a wonderful sports story. Baseball is struggling to build interest in its sport in the basketball-obsessed black community, and the all black Jackie Robinson West team advancing to the tournament’s world title game (where it lost to Seoul, South Korea) was a ray of hope. The team’s players received praise for their sportsmanship, and were honored by President Obama at the White House.

The Little League suspended the team’s manager, Darold Butler, and Illinois District 4 Administrator Michael Kelly was fired.  “For more than 75 years, Little League has been an organization where fair play is valued over the importance of wins and losses,” Little League International CEO Stephen D. Keener said in a statement. “This is a heartbreaking decision. What these players accomplished on the field and the memories and lessons they have learned during the Little League World Series tournament is something the kids can be proud of, but it is unfortunate that the actions of adults have led to this outcome.”

No, no, no.

They can’t be proud. Don’t say that. Knowingly or not, they were part of a conspiracy to break the rules in order to win a championship against teams that were abiding by them. This is why cheating persists: ethically idiotic rationalizations like Kenner’s pablum. Winning by illicit means, taking games and championships away from those trying to win them honestly, is nothing to be proud of. Keener’s words can easily be massaged into the assertion that for the kids, the cheating was worth it.

This is especially true in the context of current events, in sports and elsewhere. The Patriots probably cheated in a play-off game (at least), and are now Super Bowl champions. Alex Rodriquez cheated on the way to a gargantuan contract with the New York Yankees, and now that he’s served a one year suspension, he’s back on the roster and guaranteed 60 million dollars. Brian Williams’ self-inflating tall tales helped him get a 50 million dollar contract from NBC, only a small portion of which he will forfeit by being suspended for six months—for his cheating. None of the students who received bogus degrees from the University of North Carolina will lose them, despite knowingly accepting grades for non-existent courses.

And David Axelrod now tells us that our President intentionally lied about his position on gay marriage in order to get elected.

The message our culture is sending the next generation is loud, clear and ugly. Cheating pays. Everybody does it. If you are caught, people will understand. Be proud of your dishonest achievements. The only way to retract that message is to be tough, clear and unsentimental in assessing the legacy of success bought with fraud. Thanks to cheats, the Jackie Robinson West team’s success was an illusion. The players were a part of a scam, and that’s all they were part of. There is nothing to be proud of, because there were no real achievements. They should be angry at the betrayal, not grateful for the experience. Maybe if they are angry enough, they won’t want to grow up to be cheaters themselves.

Post Script: Eating lunch, I nearly choked on my sandwich hearing Gretchen Carlson indignantly ask whether it’s fair for the young players on the team to be penalized when the adults were the ones who did the cheating. The objective of the cheating was accomplished through the performance of players on the team who were playing illegally. The games won were won by the players as a direct result of the cheating.

She’s an idiot.

__________________________

Facts and Graphic: ESPN

21 thoughts on “Why Our Children Will Grow Up To Be Cheats and Liars: The Little League Champs Are Banned For Cheating, And Are Told That They Should Be Proud Anyway

  1. Just idle curiosity…how long before Al Sharpton shows up somewhere in South Chicago, claiming this whole stripping of wins thing is rampant racism?

    • Oh, not just Al. I see one of the habitual race-baiters in the Congressional Black Caucus making that claim too. I almost got into that issue, but didn’t. Frankly, I would have guessed that the all-black team would have been immune from sanctions, but apparently this was blatant, and the LL has some integrity.

    • Or how long before the League will begin allowing regions* to trade players (with family, of course), contracting them for a year at a time in return for special classes through high school, and guaranteeing college-of-their-choice entry, with guaranteed graduation if they continue to qualify for the team?

      *or countries?

  2. Just who called this “America’s belief in redemption,” and who determined how far it stretches? I believe in redemption myself, but I also believe that some things are just a bridge too far, and that a person’s merit isn’t just a column of credits and debits that you can balance by virtuous behavior or high achievement. Some bad acts, including cheating and lying, there is just no way around. That goes double in sports and triple in kids’ sports, where participants are supposed to learn something beyond win at all costs, even dishonest ones.

    Granted, no ethical framework is perfect, and the “no cheating or lying” doesn’t extend into things like warfare or intelligence work, where that ethic would be counterproductive and potentially lead to a less ethical result, but those are the exceptions rather than the rule. It does and should extend to politics and elections, where this culture of lying and dissembling is now taking very deep root. As lying and dissembling become normal practice rather than extreme measures, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that disregard for law, procedure, and other protections follows. George W. Bush in his speech announcing the war on the Taliban characterized them as having abandoned every principle except the will to power. We aren’t there yet, in fact I think we are still a long way off, but every shrug at a substantive lie, every deception that goes unpunished, every call to move on when a swindle is discovered after the fact, moves us a few more inches down that path.

    • There is an American Belief in Redemption, but it does not mean that wrongdoers don’t get punished. It means that an alcoholic that ruined his children’t childhood can get sober and build a relationship with his children despite what he did. It means that a thief can stop committing crimes, get an honest job, and support himself. It means that a movie star who becomes a disgraceful personal mess can pull themselves together and dedicate their life to helping others. It doesn’t mean that the alcoholic father’s kids won’t resent him at the time (or even later), the thief won’t get punished first, and that the movie star won’t become a Hollywood outcast and a laughingstock.

  3. Of course you know those young men on the penalized team are going to grow up angry and plotting vengeance against “The Man” who “stole” their title and singled them out, like a good racist, to attempt to shame them. Watch this story quickly morph into “They’re just as bad” appeals, to reject the dishonest successes of other American and other countries’ teams. Gotta have equality, you know. The common denominator must always, always be the absolute lowest.

  4. I am not sure that Little League International has all that integrity. LLI was perfectly content to encourage the feel good story of underprivileged kids from Chicago’s South Side making it all the way to the series final, only to lose to South Korea. These players were honored by the White House and had photo ops with the President and First Lady. In a sport that has lost interest from the Black community, here was a heart warming story of the little guy making it big.

    However, LLI had been on notice that the boundary and residency requirements had been manipulated, or outright disregarded, to create a team of ringers vying for the title. LLI wanted the narrative so it closed its investigation, only then to have its decision to blow up in its face because a reporter kept asking questions. This has turned into a huge ethics problem for LLI.

    According to Yahoo! Sports, “[t]he charge to discipline Jackie Robinson West was led by Chris Janes from neighboring Evergreen Park Little League, which Jackie Robinson West beat 43-2 on its way to the Little League World Series tournament. Jackie Robinson West then made it all the way to the International finals, where it lost to South Korea. Mark Konkol, a reporter with DNA Chicago, had been on the Jackie Robinson West case like a police dog, sniffing out complaints and detractors, ultimately compelling Little League International to re-open the case.

    “The first inkling of a controversy surrounding Jackie Robinson West came in December, and the following months have included numerous Little League rivals speaking out. Other Little League officials in Chicago claimed that a new district administrator changed the Chicago boundaries without necessary approvals. That [district] administrator,[Michael] Kelley, was a part of Jackie Robinson West for 20 years prior.”

    See, http://news.yahoo.com/why-jackie-robinson-west-stripped-us-title-180444207.html;_ylt=A0LEViekndtUSLwA9mEnnIlQ.

    It is more than manipulating boundaries to field a team of ringers. This is about conflicts of interest (Michael Kelley, the district administrator had been a part of JRW for 20 years); cover ups (LLI swept the investigation under the rug when it reviewed evidence after the tournament about eligibility and boundaries); big money (in an era where baseball seems to be losing out to other sports), and serious obligations dodges (“As our Little League operations staff learned of the many issues and actions that occurred over the course of 2014 and prior, as painful as this is, we feel it a necessary decision to maintain the integrity of the Little League program,” the League organization said of its decision. “No team can be allowed to attempt to strengthen its team by putting players on their roster that live outside their boundaries.”).

    The ethics heroes are Mark Konkol, a reporter with DNA Chicago who did not drop the story, and Chris Janes from neighboring Evergreen Park Little League, who persisted in pressing the issue.

    Ethics idiots are people who respond this way: “We’re just blown away by this,” Venisa Green, mother of Jackie Robinson West player Brandon Green, told the Chicago Tribune. “All of the parents and kids together — we had no knowledge or forewarning, no communication from the league.”

    She told the Tribune she wondered if the team’s title would’ve been questioned if the kids weren’t African American.

    “Would they rather the boys be killed in the Chicago streets than actively engaged in the sport they love?” she said. “My breath is taken away.”

  5. The trouble is that the penalty falling on the adults and not on the more innocent children is warring with not rewarding cheaters. Because they are kids and may be innocent it seems more cruel to say the supposed win is shameful. That is why the idiot sad they can be proud. Now they will never know if they could have won without the cheating…

    Thing is, 12 year olds are not stupid. They know who lives in their neighborhood and I’m sure some knew very well that some weren’t eligible. I think part of why this blew us is because of the Patriots’ cheating and the bad press. And really, will most of us miss the cheats who are out in any of these scandals? There are new people all the time and these ‘winners’ aren’t as irreplaceable as they think.

    • I am probably imagining things, but I will confess that I am not supremely knowledgeable about the history of Little League World Series champions: I thought I had read, decades ago, about an all-black (or mostly black) team from Florida that won the whole thing…and future standout major-league pitcher Dwight Gooden was on that team. I bring it up only to suggest that the Chicago little league team of 2014 perhaps was not “the first” of “its kind,” after all. Only recently, I learned of a team from Mexico that won it all, in the 1950s. Well, they weren’t Americans, but they were NORTH Americans…although I do know that many Mexicans use that term in other, less pleasant ways…

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