A Davenport Little League team responded after it received backlash on social media after an image went viral.
The image/video shows players from Southeast Little League seemingly putting cotton into a Black player’s hair in Williamsport, Pa., during the Little League World Series. Over the weekend, the image received harsh criticism across social media from users and Civil Rights Advocate Benjamin Crump.
Little League World Series officials released the following statement:
“During the broadcast of the MLB Little League Classic, a Midwest player was shown with filling from a stuffed animal given away at the game on his head. After speaking with the team, as well as reviewing photos, multiple players on the Midwest Region team were taking part in this while enjoying the game. As only one player appeared on the broadcast, Little League International understands that the actions shown could be perceived as racially insensitive. We have spoken with the player’s mother and the coaches, who have assured us that there was no ill-intent behind the action shown during the broadcast.”
Furthermore, the Southeast Little League team also released the following statement on its Facebook Page.
“During the recent broadcast of the MLB Little League Classic, ESPN showed several kids from our team putting stuffing (from a stuffed animal given away at the game) on our second baseman Jeremiah Grise’s head. The kids were doing this in an attempt to emulate the white mohawk of the Hawaii team’s star player, who they think is a great baseball player with a very cool hairstyle. Unfortunately, the cameras did not show the boys putting stuffing on the heads of multiple players and of Jeremiah laughing and loving his new ‘look.’ We have also posted a picture and video showing this.”
“There was absolutely no ill-intent or racial motivations, as everyone on the team, including Jeremiah, was simply trying to emulate a fellow player they look up to. We are in no way trying to minimize the racial insensitivity of the boys’ actions and apologize for any harm this video has caused. We have spoken to the boys to help educate them on why it was inappropriate – which none of them had realized or understood at the time. They understand it now, providing them a life lesson they will carry forward.”
“The Little League World Series has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our boys and we hope everyone’s focus can return to their great play, teamwork and sportsmanship on the field. We ask everyone, including the media and online provocateurs, to please let these 12-year-olds be 12-year-olds.”
“We hope this statement has provided the additional context necessary to understand the whole story. We at Davenport Southeast strive to welcome kids of all races and backgrounds and take pride in the diversity of our organization. Go Davenport Southeast Little League!” the statement concludes.