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Kennedy Park Little League suspends ‘several’ players, coach

A little league baseball team comprised of Latino players from West Lawn were the subject of racial slurs and verbal abuse by players and coaches of a Kennedy Park league travel team, according to parents, coaches and players on Sunday.

The Kennedy Park Little League moved to “discipline several” players and a coach from the Kennedy Park Cobras who were involved in multiple racial incidents and verbal abuse toward a Southwest Side team comprised of Latino players from a Sunday game, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

The league released a statement on their investigation into the incidents, the Southwest Pride told the Sun-Times:

“In accordance with the league’s Code of Conduct, officials from Kennedy Park Little League have moved to discipline several players and a coach who were involved in separate incidents during Sunday’s game between the Kennedy Park 11u Cobras travel team and Westlawn’s [sic] Southwest Pride Team.”

Here’s the statement in its entirety:

Kennedy Park’s code of conduct states that if coaches and/or players uses “foul or abusive language,” they are ejected from the game and suspended one game. A second infraction, which the team from West Lawn is also alleged took place, garner a “suspension for the balance of the season and reinstatement at boards discretion.”

When the Sun-Times asked for the name of the coach involved in the incidents, the number of players involved and the nature of the “discipline,” Marty Nitsche, a Kennedy Park Baseball & Softball board member declined.

“We will not be releasing his name. Remember we are all volunteers who spend an incredible amount of time teaching and coaching these kids. The situation has been dealt with and we are moving forward as a league. We consider this matter to be closed and respectfully request you do the same. Thank you,” Nitsche said in an email.

Ray Salazar, whose son Adrian plays on the Southwest Side team, says that the parents ought to be working with the coaches when an incident comes up during a game.

“I think the key thing here is that Kennedy Park needs to recognize the inappropriate behavior. Then us parents need to make sure we’re instilling values that promote good sportsmanship,” Salazar said upon being informed of the suspensions. “And when something goes wrong, us grown-ups need to be adults about it because this is about our kids playing a classic sport — and having fun.”