LLWS Begins: 3 Legal Reasons Why Jackie Robinson West hung up their cleats a year later

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama meet with the Jackie Robinson West All Stars in the Oval Office of the White House, November 6, 2014 in Washington, DC. The team won the United States championship before having its title stripped only a few short months later. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama meet with the Jackie Robinson West All Stars in the Oval Office of the White House, November 6, 2014 in Washington, DC. The team won the United States championship before having its title stripped only a few short months later. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

LLWS (Little League Series) has begun to crowds all over and Jackie Robinson West All Stars (often referred to as “JRW”) can only buy peanuts.

A year after their inspiring run to win the United States Championship and subsequently having it stripped, JRW doesn’t even have a prize at the bottom of the cracker jack box.

With a new crop of kids to capture America’s hearts, many do not care if they ever get it back either.

In Chicago however, it’s root, root for the home team, as local residents are crying foul about having their beloved team’s parade rained on.

Yesterday Jackie Robison West’s legal team withdrew the heavily nuanced 224 petition against LLWS effectively winding up in the loss column again.

What a shame.

Here are the three strikes that took Jackie Robinson out of the old ball game, including a 7th inning stretch they could have used to stay in the game:

1. Jackie Robinson West attempted a narrow legal maneuver that was ineffective in exposing Little World Series improprieties.

On June  24th JRW filed a 224 petition against Little League World Series in order to give itself ammunition to bring a full suit against LLWS.

A 224 petition is an independent discovery request claim where a party seeks to gather identifying information about a party it seeks to bring a suit against.

Jackie Robison West’s 224 petition sought 4 things from Little League World Series:

a. Identification of individuals associated with the initial investigation of Jackie Robinson West in September 2014 which did not yield any wrongdoing;

b. Identification of individuals associated with subsequent investigations in December 2014;

c. Identification of individuals responsible for the decision to rescind JRW’s LLWS US Championship; and,

d. Identification of Illinois State Police Department personnel who intentionally sought, obtained, and shared information about JRW parents to anyone connected with LLWS.

The critical component of a presiding judge deciding a 224 petition is the filing would have to be able to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

JRW faced the quandary of needing information about how their championship was stripped in order to have a strong petition.

JRW’s primary objective in its petition was uncovering Little League World Series organizational corruption.

Little League World Series previously only provided information about JRW’s improper boundaries.

The lack of information put Jackie Robinson West in a circular posture, thus preventing the embattled organization from fielding a critical element of their position.

2. Little League World Series answer to Jackie Robinson West’s complaint embarrassed JRW.

When Little League World Series released evidence in its answer to Jackie Robinson’s petition only 5 of 13 JRW boys actually were eligible to play, LLWS effectively pitched a 100 mile per hour heater right down the middle of the plate.

JRW could only stare down a truth they knew right into the catcher’s mitt and watch the chalk smoke of denial dissipate into thin air.

It was only a matter of time before the umpire in the case would call the organization out.

JRW was caught in the same crosshairs they attempted to ensnare LLWS – they did not pay by the rules. Any discovery would first expose JRW for impropriety, and any discovery JRW sought to show cheating was par for the course for the entire league would butt up against relevancy of the scope of such discovery.

A lawsuit for being a part of a conspiracy and not properly getting one’s cut is not a viable cause of action.

Chris Janes, the Evergreen Park little league coach who allegedly was the whistleblower against JRW. (Photo: Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune)

Chris Janes, the Evergreen Park little league coach who allegedly was the whistleblower against JRW. (Photo: Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune)

3. Jackie Robinson West did not throw itself under the bus for the sake of its boys.

JRW’s fight to restore it’s name did not, and does not rest in trying to restore it’s team US championship.

A better lineup card would have to be on the individual, possibly class action level.

The focus of a class suit would focus on something of economic value JRW boys and any other boys (maybe all race boys, maybe just minority boys) across the country may have lost, including registration fees, equipment fees, travel, and other ancillary costs by not being able to properly participate in LLWS due to ineffective, fraudulent, and/or inconsistent application of boundaries in the negligent management of LLWS teams and rewarding championships based on them.

Jackie Robinson West would potentially have to admit their own complicity in robbing boys of fair play to save its own boys.

Taking the fall for the sake of the boys is something JRW apparently balked at or did not consider.

Bottom Line

Jackie Robinson West sought to paint Little League World Series into the corner as a hypocritical organization with a curveball of a legal maneuver.

Instead, JRW hit into in a double play where they were involved in their own conspiracy.

Chicagoland residents who cheered on little black boys as finally representing a positive image of urban youth now are left feeling the boys are the victims without even a participation trophy to show for their effort.

Some residents may still have their rally caps on for more answers, but sadly they may be left standing at the on deck circle.


Exavier B. Pope I, Esq. is an award winning attorney, on air legal analyst, media personality, and Fortune 500 speaker. Mr. Pope has over 200+ appearances on air, including: international television on BBC and Al Jazeera English; national television on Fox News Channel, HLN, NBC Nightly News, Al Jazeera America, WGN Morning News, Fox Business Channel, and Huff Post Live; Top 3 Local Media Markets on Fox, CBS, and NBC; international radio on BBC Radio; national radio on ESPN Radio, Clear Channel Radio, NBC Sports Radio; contributed digitally to CNBC, Huffington Post, Jet, and Black Enterprise; and has appeared in other media outlets nationally and internationally. Mr. Pope is represented by top media and literary agency RLR Associates. All opinions expressed are those solely of Mr. Pope.

© 2015, Exavier B. Pope I, Esq.

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