Little League scandal reflects growing corruption in sports

Little League scandal reflects growing corruption in sports 5.00/5 (100.00%) 1 vote

By Ray Hanania

RayHananiaColumnBoxWhy am I not surprised that Little League Baseball is tainted with the same kind of corruption that taints everything else in professional American sports?

Worse is the phoniness of people who are supposed to be role models who are exploiting the controversy for personal political gain.

Where is the outrage over the lesson that the Jackie Robinson West little league team is teaching our young people? That it’s OK to cheat as long as you don’t get caught?

It makes me sick and it should make everyone sick. But it shouldn’t surprise us. What surprises me is that public leaders like Rahm Emanuel, who so badly needs to repair his damaged public image as a failed Chicago mayor, is protesting the decision by Little League Baseball to strip the Jackie Robinson West Little League team of their U.S. Championship. He is demanding that the title be reinstated.

The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson and the Rev. Michael Pfleger, both of whom have never seen a controversy they can’t insert themselves into for personal political gain, denounced Evergreen Park Little league Coach Chris Janes for blowing the whistle on the Jackie Robinson West Little League’s fraud.

Janes complained to everyone about the cheating for months, but no one would listen. He wrote letters to the Little League International charging the JRW team stacked its roster with ringers from outside its district. The public ignored him. Chicago’s leaders ignored him. The news media ignored him, until the Little League couldn’t ignore the truth.

In my book, Chris Janes is a hero. He’s the only person who cares about the most important part of sports. It’s called “sportsmanship.” It’s called honesty. It’s called not cheating.

Cheating seems to be the newest sports statistic. It deserves its own category along with batting averages, stolen bases and home runs.

Just two weeks ago, it was the New England Patriots football team winning the play-offs by deflating its footballs to make them easier to catch. It doesn’t seem like anyone cares. We care more about protecting the integrity of the Super Bowl, which long ago lost its virginity to advertising commercialization and profits.

The list of cheating in sports is growing at super speed.

I blame it on sports journalism. The mainstream news media has serious problems, but the worst are sports reporters. They don’t write news. They write opinions and call it news. They champion athletes they love, bash those they hate, and decide who gets canonized and who gets dumped. They close their eyes to cheating, until it can’t be hidden.

As the father of a young boy, I am saddened by the failure of our leaders to stand up for honesty, fairness and sports ethics. Defending the cheaters sends the wrong message to young kids all over the country who think they can win in sports by working hard, training hard, and by following the rules. By being good sportsmen and women.

Long ago my dad once told me that winning is NOT the most important thing in life. I want my son to know it’s about how you play the game. It’s about being honest, fair and doing your best.

These days, it seems like all anyone cares about is winning, and how to turn that into financial profit and personal prestige.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. Reach him at [email protected])

Ray Hanania

Blogger, Columnist at Illinois News Network Online
Ray Hanania is senior blogger for the Illinois News Network news site. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (From Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley). And, Hanania is a stubborn and loud critic of the biased mainstream American news media.

In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. He hosted a live weekend Radio Show on WLS AM radio from 1980 through 1991, and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM and shows on WSBC AM in Chicago and WNZK AM in Detroit.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. He currently is syndicated through Creators Syndicate and his column is feature every Sunday in the Saudi Gazette in Saudi Arabia. He has written for the Jerusalem Post,, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His Chicagoland political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News on several Chicagoland blogs including the and

Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

His personal website is Email him at: [email protected]