A little league game in the Chicago area over the weekend devolved into racist taunts and verbal abuse from the home team.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, the Kennedy Park Cobras were hosting the West Lawn Southwest Pride, a team comprised primarily of Latino players. The Cobras, a primarily white team, called the West Lawn team “Taco Boys” and said that they were going to “build a wall around home plate.”
Ray Salazar, a parent of one of the players on the West Lawn team, called the incident a learning experience. “I’m at the point now where I’m balancing getting involved, and not getting involved and letting my son make sense out of situations. I heard it and it is a part of life and we have to move on,” Salazar told the Sun Times.
Salazar’s son Adrian, 12, said the team used the taunts as motivation. “We went back to the dugout and told our coaches. We got mad and took that anger onto the field. We won,” Salazar said. “We discussed it. We wondered who would be that salty. We would never do that. We were angry, but then we calmed down.”
According to the Kennedy Park’s rules, the players who yelled the slurs should have been ejected from the game, along with their coach. The park’s code of conduct states that if coaches and/or players uses “foul or abusive language,” they are ejected from the game and suspended one game.
When the Beverly (a Southside Chicago ‘hood that’s VERY white) baseball team ran by my 12-yo-son’s team during warm ups, they teased them, “Ándale, taco boys.”— Ray Salazar (@WhiteRhinoRay) April 29, 2018
Well...these Southwest side taco boys showed ‘em! Proud of these fellas. pic.twitter.com/qrXc6SRqGs
“The umpire nor the coaches were aware of the situation until it surfaced online,” said Matt Winkler, president of the Kennedy Park Little League, in a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times regarding the alleged incidents. “In the wake of the claims, me and the league started an investigation into the situation. So far we’ve been unable to validate that the incident occurred. In light of this, coaches will be instructed to speak with their teams. We pride ourselves on being welcoming to other teams. We have a code of conduct online that we stand by so we are not done investigating the situation and any of the allegations against the coach or his behavior.”
West Lawn went on to win the game, beating the Cobras 10-7.