Little League World Series responds to ‘racially insensitive’ video of Black player covered in cotton by teammates

Little League World Series fans and neutral observers alike have reacted with outrage to video showing one of the teams covering a black player with cotton wool pulled from stuffed animals.

Video, taken from ESPN’s broadcast of Sunday’s Little League Classic game between the Orioles and Red Sox, shows several white players from the Midwest team (represented this year by Davenport, Iowa) combing their black hair Cover teammates with cotton.

Karl Ravech, the announcer for ESPN’s broadcast of the game, can be heard saying, “These are just little leagues, which are little leagues right there. … Why not, right? When you are in Rome.”

The video has sparked controversy and outrage from those who witnessed it either live or as it circulated on social media. Many critics of the operation drew parallels between it and US history of using slave labor to produce cotton.

The player, whose hair is covered in cotton, sat idly while his teammates put padding in his hair. According to the team’s Little League roster, he is one of only two black players on the Midwest team.

Little League World Series response to the video

Little League International released a statement Monday in response to the event, saying there was “no malicious intent behind the action.”

During the broadcast of the MLB Little League Classic, a Midwestern player was shown with a stuffing on his head made from a stuffed animal that was given away at the game. After speaking with the team and viewing photos, several players from the Midwest Region team attended while enjoying the game.

Because only one player appeared on the show, Little League International believes the actions shown could be perceived as racially insensitive. We spoke to the player’s mother and the coaches who assured us that there was no malicious intent behind the action shown during the broadcast.

The Midwest team’s next game is Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET after the team won two straight elimination games to advance further in the Little League World Series.

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