Little League World Series responds to 'racially insensitive' video of Black player covered in cotton by teammates

Little League World Series responds to 'racially insensitive' video of Black player covered in cotton by teammates

Fans of the Little League World Series and neutral observers alike have responded with outrage to a video that shows one of the teams covering a Black player with cotton pulled from stuffed toys.

The video, taken from the ESPN broadcast of Sunday’s Little League Classic game between the Orioles and Red Sox, depicts several white players on the Midwest team (represented this year by Davenport, Iowa) covering their Black teammate’s hair with cotton.

Karl Ravech, the announcer for ESPN’s broadcast of the game, can be heard saying, “That’s just little leaguers being little leaguers right there. … Why not, right? When in Rome.”

The video has sparked controversy and outrage by those who witnessed it, either live or as it circulated on social media. Many critics of the action drew parallels between it and the United States’ history of using slave labor to produce cotton.

The player whose hair is being covered in cotton sat idly while his teammates placed stuffing in his hair. Per the team’s Little League roster, he is one of only two Black players on the Midwest team.

Little League World Series response to video

Little League International on Monday released a statement in response to the event, saying there was “no ill-intent behind the action.”

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. 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 that the actions shown could be perceived as racially insensitive. 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.

Further context to what happened was provided by K.E. Ganshert, who snapped photos of other players participating, as well as more information about the situation. 

There is more context to the story, as well. 

The Midwest team’s next game is at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday after the team won two straight elimination games to advance further in the Little League World Series.