WARWICK, R.I. – Young athletes got a harsh reminder that being a good sport goes way beyond the playing field after a social media post caused an abrupt end to their season over the weekend.
The Little League Committee decided to pull the team from Atlee, Virginia from the Junior League World Series for unsportsmanlike conduct and a violation of its social media policies. Eyewitness News has learned the post in question was a photo posted to Snapchat by one of the Atlee players, directed at another team in the league.
“The picture is basically their team in the dugout right before game time, basically six girls holding up their middle finger saying this is to you host,” Warwick North President and Manager Carlos Rodas said.
Atlee’s disqualification gave Warwick North an automatic third-place finish but it was a win that wasn’t very satisfying.
“Two weeks from now we’ll all look back and understand what we’ve accomplished over the last three years is nothing short of extraordinary,” Rodas said.
Rodas said he understands the league’s decision to pull Atlee from the championship but thought the punishment was a bit harsh.
“I think any of us that have played sports understand that stuff happens between the white lines that none of us are proud of,” he added, saying he felt that only the team’s managers and the players involved in the photo should have been held responsible.
Rodas said it was a good reminder for all young athletes that what they post can have consequences.
“What you put out there on social media is for the world to see and for the world to poke at,” he said. “I had a chance to meet all the coaches and I had a chance to meet all the young ladies and they’re no different than any other 13- or 14-year-old girls. They just made a bad mistake.”