Stripped U.S. LLWS champ Jackie Robinson West may drop lawsuit

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Chicago Little League team Jackie Robinson West may drop a lawsuit against the sport's governing body in which it alleged the team was wrongfully stripped of the 2014 national title.

Jackie Robinson West, which lost to South Korea in the world championship game, was accused of using ineligible players by altering the league's boundaries.

Though lawyers representing the team filed a motion to withdraw their complaint last Wednesday, attorney Victor Henderson released a statement Tuesday saying they may not be done fighting yet.

"Through its recent legal filings, Little League has chosen to be deceitful and dishonest by withholding material and critical information," Henderson said. "Instead of taking a transparent and honest approach, Little League is acting like a corporate conglomerate doing everything it can to protect its image and financial interests. This is a travesty, especially because little kids are the ones who are taking the brunt of their tactic. Legal disputes, just like baseball games, don't take place in one inning. For now, I simply encourage everyone to be patient. The game is far from over."

Little League International had initially upheld Jackie Robinson West's title, but in February reversed course and stripped the team from Chicago's South Side of its national championship. According to findings by Little League International, only five of the team's 13 players were eligible to play for the team at the time.

In June, attorneys representing the team sought information from Little League International on the governing body's decision and the names of whistleblowers. Jackie Robinson West's lawyers were attempting to prove that Little League International had failed to follow its own procedures and protocols in deciding to punish the team.

Henderson has said that he thinks race played some part in the stripping of the team's title. Jackie Robinson West's 2014 team was comprised of only black players.

"Do I think race is at play? Yes, I do think that it's at play at some level," Henderson said in June. "Do I think that's the only reason? No, I do not."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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