Just hours after Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West team was stripped of its Little League World Series title, the White House stood by the boys.
The Jackie Robinson West team became the first all-black team to win the United States Little League Championships in the summer of 2014. The urban team’s victory — amid a deadly summer marked by gun violence — won the hearts of many, including the president, who invited the team to the White House. Their dramatic triumph ended in scandal on Wednesday when Little League International concluded that coaches had knowingly falsified records in order to include ineligible players who lived outside the team’s residential boundaries. The players apparently did not know.
“The president is proud of the way that they represented their city and the way they represented the country,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. “The fact is, you know, some dirty dealing by some adults doesn't take anything away from the accomplishments of those young men.”
Asked by a Chicago reporter if the president had a message for the boys, Earnest responded with a lengthy tribute to the kids’ work. “I think what the president would say is that ... the actions of those adults doesn’t in any way take away ... from the accomplishments of those young men who performed brilliant on the baseball diamond on a pretty large stage,” he said. “And their accomplishment is the product of years of ... commitment and practice and some skill, and they should be proud of what they have accomplished.”