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City lawmaker wants General Assembly to weigh in on Jackie Robinson West controversy

SPRINGFIELD — A Chicago lawmaker wants the Illinois Legislature to weigh in on the controversy that cost the Jackie Robinson West All Stars its national title last week.

A resolution pursued by Rep. Monique Davis, a Democrat from the city’s South Side, would urge Little League International to rescind its decision to strip the baseball team of its title. It also would urge the organization to “rigorously investigate” other teams that participate in Little League’s tournament.

“Don’t you think we should all be held to the same standard?” Davis said during a news conference at the Capitol where she was joined by lawmakers of both parties from the House and Senate.

Little League International took away Jackie Robinson West’s title Feb. 11, explaining the adults behind the program were at fault. Those adults allegedly tried to steal territory from neighboring programs — territory that was home to talented players — by falsifying and backdating maps. That meant some of the boys on the team Chicago fell in love with were not eligible to play for Jackie Robinson West.

The decision came after Little League investigated allegations against Jackie Robinson West multiple times, and after Little League officials visited Chicago on Jan. 31 to interview officials from neighboring leagues.

The Chicago team’s title went to a team it defeated from Las Vegas. Little League International President and CEO Stephen Keener said the new champions would only be subject to the same scrutiny as Jackie Robinson West if allegations emerge against the western team. He also said it would not be feasible to investigate every team that entered the tournament.

“After two investigations — two investigations — they found everything fine,” Davis said. “But all of a sudden something occurred, and they are just demanding that these young, African-American boys be stripped of something they’ve earned. And it’s just unfair, and it’s un-American.”