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Jackie Robinson West Little League Team Files Lawsuit to Regain Title

12 Jul, 2015

By: Tracey Schelmetic

Jackie Robinson West team attorney Victor Henderson has announced the long-awaited court filing against Little League International, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. Henderson said the lawsuit is the consequence of Little League Baseball’s refusal to meet with the parents to discuss the investigation and its failure to follow its own rules pertaining to protests over eligibility.

“If we made mistakes, we are willing to stand by the mistakes," Henderson said. "But we are going to make sure these young men are treated fairly. Little League has not met any burden to establish that Jackie Robinson West is not the official team."

LLB stands by its accusation that Jackie Robinson West team's managers and coaches falsified boundary maps to include ineligible players.

"Ultimately, the Little League Charter/Tournament Committee found that Jackie Robinson West League violated Little League regulations by falsifying portions of its tournament eligibility affidavit," LLB’s spokesman Brian McClintock said.

The team has acknowledged that some of JRW’s players lived outside the boundary area, but contends that maps were never falsified. Michael Kelley, a former Little League Baseball administrator who was terminated as a result of the scandal, supported the team’s legal efforts in a separate news conference and said that Little League Baseball had never asked for his input or to provide any information regarding the allegations surrounding JRW. Kelley said he is looking to clear his name of the false allegations.

The story about Jackie Robinson West’s attempts to “stack the team with suburban ringers” was first broken by DNAinfo.com reporter Mark Konkol. Konkol claims he was ejected from a press conference held by the team on June 24 by JRW team leader Bill Haley. During the press conference, Haley demanded that Little League Baseball identify the whistleblowers who brought the alleged fake boundary maps to the league’s attention. Haley also demanded the names of Little League International officials involved in the decision to strip the title from the team.

In its new lawsuit, Jackie Robinson West stated that Little League International failed to provide information to the team explaining its punishment. The suit also alleges the league failed to mention any specific violation of the rules, according to CBS 2 in Chicago.

"Until Little League International establishes to us that they have, in fact, acted properly, then we are not willing to concede that these young men are not still the champions from 2014," Henderson said.

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