JRW attorney says initial investigation looks promising | Team honored at Blackhawks game

Friday, February 13, 2015
JRW honored at Blackhawks game
Jackie Robinson West was honored Friday night at the Blackhawks Game.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The lawyer for the Jackie Robinson West Little League team says his preliminary investigation shows things are looking promising as he checks out claims the team changed its boundaries.

Two days after the announcement from Little League baseball, the attorney for Jackie Robinson West said Friday they are not finding any wrongdoing by the team. He plans to put Little League on notice that his investigation has begun and, if warranted, they will pursue an appeal.

Support for Jackie Robinson West continues, despite a ruling by Little League International to revoke its national title. Attorney Victor Henderson has begun investigating the ruling on behalf of JRW.

"Little League International - as well intended as they may have been - this a very unique league and group of kids and parents and baseball teams on the South Side of Chicago. And you have to know something about Chicago and know something about the South Side," Henderson said.

Henderson says that so far, people have been candid and offered information. Henderson says Little League baseball is a competitive world, but last season, JRW was an underdog.

"I don't think it was on anyone's radar screen. I can say that safely so any transgressions may have taken place certainly didn't take place on the field and clearly didn't involve the kids at all," Henderson said.

The only comments from Little League baseball came on Thursday, saying they would get JRW's attorney information about the decision.

Henderson said he expects to communicate directly with Little League International next week.


The team received some financial support Friday for what could be a protracted legal fight. Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson presented JRW with a trophy and a $10,000 check.

"As a parent, as a citizen of Chicago, we just feel that this is wrong. And we want to make sure that something is done about it," Wilson said.

Mayor Emanuel's office also announced a gift for JRW, saying championship rings will be presented to the team at an upcoming City Council meeting. The rings were paid for with private donations.


"They still champions in this ward; they are still champions in this city. There are many people who say the same thing - these boys are still our champions," said 34th Ward Ald. Carrie Austin.

Jackie Robinson West is in Ald. Carrie Austin's ward. She said the league struggled over the years to stay afloat, and that's why this summer's success was so celebrated.

She wonders why concerns about boundaries weren't brought up before JRW won the national Little League title.

"When did you notice it and you going to bring this up after they win. And you drug this along all this time. No. That's totally unfair to these boys," Ald. Austin said.


Jackie Robinson West was honored Friday night at the Blackhawks Game. The Blackhawks say the invitation went out months ago, long before JRW was engulfed in controversy.

The players and their families made a lightning-quick entrance at the United Center, barely stopping to talk.

"We're going to have some fun. We're going to have a lot of fun, so I'm excited for the boys. Thanks, man," said Darold Butler, JRW manager.

During the game, the team appeared on the Jumbotron - all smiles and having a great time.

The Blackhawks said in a statement they were "...honoring a commitment that was made to the baseball team several months ago. We are excited to have these young athletes as our guests tonight."

And on Saturday morning, a rally is planned to honor JRW. It's set to kick off at 9:30 a.m. at Rainbow PUSH headquarters.