A team at the Little League World Series (LLWS) decided to rip the stuffing out of toys they were given and put it on top of a player’s head. The player happened to be black. The media immediately accused the team of pre-teens of being racists.
The moment occurred as the team from Davenport, Iowa—representing the Midwest Region— watched the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox play in Sunday’s Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa.
“That’s just Little Leaguers being Little Leaguers right there,” Karl Ravech said on-air as the video was shown on ESPN.
Little League International officials reviewed the video and released a statement saying it “understands the actions could be perceived as racially insensitive.” The officials also spoke with the player’s mother and the coaches, who “assured us that there was no ill-intent behind the action.”
Little League officials tell me there’s no “ill-intent” behind this incident that aired Sunday showing players on the Midwest team from Iowa putting what appears to be cotton in their Black teammate’s hair. pic.twitter.com/Wmjxu4rbNL pic.twitter.com/vaAtSN4JbM— Chenue Her (@ChenueHer) August 23, 2022
SPOILER ALERT: The video that was broadcast on ESPN doesn’t paint the whole picture, and people are reacting with outrage without doing 30 seconds of research.
So, we did the 30 seconds of research. Here’s the real story.
What Really Happened at the LLWS Classic
It wasn’t just the black player with cotton on top of his head, his teammates were doing the same, and it wasn’t just some random act. The kids were tipping their caps to Jaron Lancaster, a pitcher for Hawaii who is sporting a blonde mohawk at the LLWS. Lancaster is a dominant pitcher, so the kids were simply copying his hairstyle because they want to be like him.
Many of the teammates were participating, Black and white. They were imitating the stud pitcher from Hawaii who has an awesome white-dyed Mohawk. There’s a video where the player making headlines is flexing and smiling with the words “the new Jarron Lancaster” pic.twitter.com/kode6vT3oD— Author, K.E. Ganshert (@KEganshert) August 23, 2022
Not only that, while many commented that the Black player looked unhappy or uncomfortable, a SnapChat released from later in the game showed that was also, in fact, not true.
Here’s the context. Lancaster from Hawaii is a straight stud baseball player. All the kids are getting his autograph. pic.twitter.com/pEuu1R8h37— Author, K.E. Ganshert (@KEganshert) August 23, 2022
It turns out there’s more to the “Black little league cotton” story than what’s trending in mainstream media.
Despite these facts and the kid’s mother saying the players meant no harm, the media jumped on the story with race-focused headlines.
Here Come The Woke Headlines On Black Little League ‘Incident’
You had the Huffington Post unsurprisingly title its piece about the video ‘Black Player Covered In Cotton By White Teammates At Little League World Series.’ The Daily Mail followed suit titling its article ‘Black Little League player’s hair is filled with cotton by teammates.’
Some website called The Blast went as far as to write ‘Tone Deaf Little League Coaches Watch In Delight As Black Child’s Hair Is Covered In Cotton.’
Darren M. Haynes, an anchor at WUSA9 in D.C., reacted to the video and had some big-brain comments about it. According to him, kids can’t just be kids — even at the LLWS. They need to stop and think about how slavery existed in the United States up until 1865, 157 years ago.
“To be honest, I believe the kids were not trying to be racist,” Haynes said. “They just didn’t know what they were doing was racist.”
Haynes, like the majority of others, didn’t take the time to research anything at all about the situation and the story is being overblown in epic proportion.
None of this is surprising, however. ESPN deciding to broadcast the video in the first place is incredibly on brand. The media not even attempting to uncover the full story is the status quo in news today.