Little League action swift and just
The appearance of a group of Jefferson County Little League players and coaches flipping the bird underneath the scoreboard at South Berkeley’s fields went viral last week. The Senior League team had just defeated South Berkeley and were still dressed in their uniforms.
The photo, frankly, was a disgrace.
The young men playing on the team are surely old enough to know that such a pose is inappropriate at best and shows total unsportsmanlike conduct. The fact that their adult coaches joined in the action is beyond words.
National Little League officials in Williamsport were quick to respond handing down judgment on the coaches and team, stripping them of their wins and suspending all from play and coaching. Kudos to that organization for acting quickly and decisively. The Little League name was maligned in that photo and obviously the national organization does not take that lightly.
The editorial comments from one of the coaches that have been printed in local papers this week are, in our opinion, as disgraceful as the original photo. To have a leader, mentor of young men, say that the group does things like this all the time and it wasn’t meant for public eyes shows a complete lack of respect for himself and for those boys.
To say that it’s okay to act in such a manner simply because it wasn’t meant for public eyes is unfathomable. These boys are at an age where they need to be taught sportsmanship, respect and proper behavior. To have grown men who mentor them and supposedly help mold them say it’s okay to pose in such a picture “as a joke” is ridiculous. Never is that appropriate and to try to explain it away as a joke is a poor example of stepping up.
Yes, the coach indicated he had told the boys to pose in that manner (really???) and he did say as much in his written comments to the public; however, to try to excuse it by saying it was a joke and wasn’t supposed to be public condones such behavior and encourages it. And frankly, in the world in which we live where everything image and word is immediately made public via social media, to think that this photo would not be made so was a mistake on the part of those participating and the one taking the photo.
While these boys certainly have been harshly punished by Little League action, let’s hope that their coach’s words of excuse on the issue do not make more of an impressionable mark than the words of punishment for their actions.