During the nationally-broadcasted Little League World Series Championship, white players were seen covering their Black teammate's hair with cotton, in an act officials are claiming had "no ill intent," per the HuffPost.
Internet outrage ensued after the incident was caught by ESPN cameras at the Major League Red Sox vs. Orioles Little League Classic game on Sunday (August 21).
Video shows members of one of the teams ripping out cotton stuffed in toy and sticking it on a Black player's head.
“That’s just Little Leaguers being Little Leaguers,” one announcer said as cameras zoomed in on the Black boy's cotton-filled hair.
Following widespread backlash from social media, Little League International officials acknowledged that the incident "could be perceived as racially insensitive," but that they had found the players' actions had "no ill intent."
“During the broadcast of the MLB Little League Classic, a Midwest player was shown with filling from a stuffed animal given away at the game on his head,” a statement from the league reads. “After speaking with the team, as well as reviewing photos, multiple players on the Midwest region team were taking part in this while enjoying the game.”
“As only one player appeared on the broadcast, Little League International understands the actions could be perceived as racially insensitive,” the statement continues. “We have spoken with the player’s mother and the coaches, who have assured us that there was no ill-intent behind the action shown during the broadcast.”
Darren M. Haynes, a sports anchor at WUSA9, joined the ongoing conversation about the incident on Monday (August 22).
“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. But let this serve as a reminder why education is the best tool for tackling racism and discrimination so I don’t have to keep talking talk about senseless acts like this anymore on TV.”