Youth Football Team Claims Racism After League Ouster

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A youth football team in Baltimore feels it was discriminated against on the basis of race after being banned from the Carroll County Youth Football and Cheer League playoffs.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the six Reisterstown Mustangs teams that play in the league are majority black, while teams from 10 other organizations in the league are primarily white.

The Mustangs were new to the league and thus playing under probationary status. The league notified the Mustangs over the weekend that by a unanimous vote of the other 10 programs in the league taken Oct. 24, they were no longer a probationary member and were “excluded from all post-season activities including but not limited to, Playoffs, Superbowl, and Allstar Games.”

Rachel Bullock, whose 8-year-old son plays on the Mustangs, said she was never given a reason for the decision. “I hate to say ‘racism,’ but when they give you no other reason, what else can you come up with?” Bullock said.

Officials with the Carroll County league did not respond to the Sun’s request for comment, and the league’s Facebook page appears to have been deleted. The league later released a statement saying the Mustangs were banned from postseason play over “behavioral concerns,” although the notice on the league’s website makes no mention of those concerns.

“Emotions tend to run high during playoffs,” the statement said, “therefore, the league elected not to risk the safety of the participants and in an attempt to promote a safe conclusion to the season, the league’s programs voted to remove the Reisterstown program at the end of the regular season and prior to the playoffs.”

Parents say one Mustang player was ejected and suspended for two games during the season but that other teams had players, coaches and even a parent ejected.

In total the decision to ban the Mustangs from post-season play eliminated six Mustangs teams and more than 140 players.

“CCYFCL is a ‘good old boy’ network which only tolerates a majority African-American youth football organization as long as we know our place and don’t have too much success,” the Mustangs’ president, Marquita M. Melvin, said in an email to the Carroll County league.  

The Mustangs are now looking to join a different league.

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