President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama meet with the Jackie Robinson West All Stars in the Oval Office of the White House, November 6, 2014 in Washington, DC. The team won the national championship but lost the World Title to South Korea.
Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images
Parents of one-time Little League darlings Jackie Robinson West have filed a lawsuit against ESPN, on air personality Stephen A. Smith, Little League International and opposing coach Chris Janes, who reportedly notified the league that the West team was using ineligible players.
In 2014, the south side Chicago area little league team captivated the nation winning a national championship only to be stripped months later when Janes claimed that coaches adjusted boundary maps to include players who wouldn’t have been eligible to play.
According to the lawsuit viewed by the Chicago Tribune, the parents allege that the “Little League organization that hosts the annual World Series ‘concealed the ineligibility of the JRW team members in order to reap the benefits of notoriety and media attention.'”
The lawsuit filed by parents of Jackie Robinson West alleges that their former coach Darold Butler submitted the necessary paperwork to Little League International, and that officials either ignored or chose not to mention the potential boundary issues so that the League could profit from the popularity of Jackie Robinson West, Yahoo Sports reports.
Even after officials were informed of ineligible players on the Jackie Robinson West team, the team was still allowed to finish its season before league president Bill Haley was informed. “Despite its findings, Little League still arranged the team’s visit to the White House and inclusion in the 2014 World Series in San Francisco,” Yahoo reports.
Stephen A. Smith, the colorful commentator known for his brash remarks, is being sued for defamation after making comments on air suggesting that Jackie Robinson West’s former coach Darold Butler knowingly falsified documents for his own personal gain.
Whistleblower, Chris Janes, is also named in the lawsuit, which he reportedly finds “laughable” according to DNAinfo.
The lawsuit can be read here.
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