The Atlee Junior League softball team was removed from the World Series championship game on Saturday after posting an inappropriate photo on social media.
According to the Richmond-Times Dispatch, Little League officials were made aware of the photo, which shows several members of the team giving the middle finger to the camera, on Saturday morning. It was quickly decided to disqualify the team, which consists of girls ages 12-14, from further competition.
The photo in question was taken moments after Atlee defeated Kirkland American in the semifinals on Friday.
Here’s a look.
Little League spokesman Kevin Fountain released the following statement to the Times-Dispatch explaining the committee’s decision:
“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.”
As a result of the disqualification, Kirkland American was given Atlee’s spot in the championship game.
Atlee manager Scott Currie was clear in stating that the photo reflected poor sportsmanship, but wasn’t convinced the post was enough to “justify the disqualification.”
“Somebody got a hold of it. I guess they ran it through to Williamsport,” Currie said. “Williamsport decided to disqualify us.”
Coach Chris Mardigian added that the photo was in response to the treatment Atlee players received from members of the Kirkland American team during their visit. Kirkland serves as the host city for the tournament.
That may explain his team’s actions, but it doesn’t justify them. It’s a truly unfortunate way for a team’s memorable journey to end. But it’s also a good lesson on the importance of making good decisions and acting responsibly at all times.
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