RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC-TV) - An all-star softball team from Virginia was disqualified from the Junior League World Series due to an ‘inappropriate’ social media post.
Atlee team manager Scott Curry said members were ‘shocked that it had happened.’
“All that these girls had worked for all summer long had just been taken away because one little lapse in judgement,” Curry said.
The post, which appeared on Snapchat, showed a group of players in the dugout flashing their middle fingers at the camera with the caption, ‘watch out host.’
A spokesperson for Little League International told WRIC-TV in Richmond, Va. that the team was removed from contention hours before they were set to play in the World Series championship game in Kirkland, Washington Saturday afternoon.
“I do think it was harsh,” Curry said, referring to Little League International’s decision to disqualify the team.”They didn’t take a whole lot of time to investigate to see what else happened.”
Matt Pastore, who has a 14-year-old on the team, said he had to sit down with her one-on-one to view this incident as a learning lesson.
“You can bury your head in the sand and run from it, or you can acknowledge it, accept it, and move on from it,” Pastore said.
As a result, the host team that Atlee defeated on Friday to reach Saturday’s final took Atlee’s place in Saturday afternoon’s title game, which was televised on ESPN2.
“After discovering a recent inappropriate social media post involving members of Atlee Little League’s Junior League Softball tournament team, the Little League® International Tournament Committee has removed the Southeast Region from the 2017 Junior League Softball World Series for violation of Little League’s policies regarding unsportsmanlike conduct, inappropriate use of social media, and the high standard that Little League International holds for all its participants. The Tournament Committee will advance the Host Region from Kirkland American/National Little League to participate in the championship game, scheduled for Saturday, August 5 at 3 p.m. eastern time in Kirkland, Wash.”
WRIC-TV says it reached out to the team for comment and received the following statement:
"We are very sorry for the social media post resulting in the disqualification of our softball team contending for the 2017 world championship. Atlee Little League is an organization made up entirely of volunteers with a proven track record of advancing our standards of sportsmanship in youth sports. We are deeply disappointed this social media post did not reflect the core values of Little League International or Atlee Little League. We expect Little League International will take the time to fully investigate the matter, and we will comply with this investigation by providing all information about unpleasant interactions including the social media post and the time leading up to that event—not all of which were on the part of those of the Atlee softball team. We desire to protect all youth who are recipients of inappropriate behavior both on and off the field, as we take very seriously our charge to impart the value of good sportsmanship. It is important to remember the young women athletes involved in this unfortunate event are minors who are part of the fabric of this community that supported them and which they were honored to represent. Those involved feel very deeply this lapse in judgement, and wish your consideration for their privacy at this time. These young athletes are part of Atlee Little League. As all young athletes are trained to do, they will brush themselves off after a loss, and try again—after having learned a most valuable lesson.”
The Atlee team reached the World Series after going undefeated in both the Virginia State and Southeast Regional tournaments.
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