Cheaters Never Win, But Sometimes They Whine

John Steigerwald Contributor
Font Size:

Little League International hit the daily double this week.

It was accused of racism and bullying. In case you hadn’t heard, last summer’s feel good story is not feeling so good.

The national championship team from Chicago, Jackie Robinson West, that captured everybody’s hearts, was celebrated in a parade and invited to the White House, cheated.

After a long investigation – most of it done by the media – Little League stripped the team of the championship. South Korea beat JRW 8-4 in the World Series final.

The team from Las Vegas that lost to JRW in the national final was awarded the championship.

Of course the adults, some of whom had to have done the cheating, used this as a teaching moment and told the kids about the importance of fair play and that cheaters never win.

Yeah, of course they did.

Jesse Jackson showed up and threatened a law suit. He talked about how hard the boys worked and then he asked the big question.

“Is this about boundaries or race.”

It’s about boundaries.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Jackie Robinson West was the first all African-American team to win the national title.

Little League International determined that phony maps were drawn and kids were recruited from outside JRW’s boundaries. Imagine that.

It also found that representatives from Jackie Robinson West met with other leagues to try to add territory that wasn’t actually within its borders.

How good was the team?

It won the Illinois State Championship game 29-2. It also won a playoff game 43-3.

And how did the Mayor of Chicago respond? Was he outraged by the cheating?


He’s outraged that the team is being punished for the cheating and asked Little League International to reverse the decision. And then he lied to the kids, “The city remains united in its support of these great children and in our hearts, they will always be champions in Chicago.”

No they won’t.

That’s the point. The championship was taken away because it was won by cheating. Kids not grasping that concept is one thing, but the mayor of Chicago?

One of the arguments being made for allowing the kids to keep the title is that they shouldn’t suffer because of the action of dishonest adults.

Yes, they should.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that President Obama is proud of the way the way they represented their city and the way they represented their country.

Then Earnest added, “The fact is, some dirty dealing by adults doesn’t take anything away from the accomplishments of these young men.”

Yes, it does.

It takes away their accomplishment because they cheated.

The accomplishment was winning the national championship and they accomplished that by using players that they weren’t allowed to use.

Do these people know anything about sports?

Brandon Green, a JRW pitcher said, “None of the players were involved in anything that could have caused us to be stripped of our championship.”

Yes, you were, kid.

You were involved in games that included players you weren’t supposed to have. The teams that you beat were involved, too. Your team cheated.

Green’s mother, Venisa Green, was more than happy to play the race card. She said Little League was bullying the JRW players and, “[It was] amazing to me that whenever African-Americans exceed the expectations, that there is always going to be fault that is found in what it is that we do. 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.”

Sorry, Mom, but it was both.

It took character and courage to take the drastic action of stripping the team of the title because Little League International executives had to know that they would be accused of being racist.

They decided to do the right thing, anyway.

Too bad so many adults are too stupid to pass that lesson on to the kids.

Pittsburgh ex-TV sportscaster, columnist and talk show host John Steigerwald is the author of the Pittsburgh sports memoir, “Just Watch The Game.” Follow him on Twitter.