Little League World Series authorities claim that when the team placed “cotton” on a Black player’s head, there was “no ill intent.”

After a video showed youngsters sticking what appeared to be cotton on a Black teammate’s head sparked criticism online, Little League World Series administrators insisted that there was no “bad intent.”

The athlete in the Midwest Region outfit in the video is seated in a chair as teammates load a youngster’s head with stuffing from toys.

When the incident, which was shown on ESPN, took place, the squad from Davenport, Iowa, looked to be watching Sunday’s Little League Classic game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox.

The announcer exclaims, “That’s just Little Leaguers being Little Leaguers right there,” as the camera zooms in on the action.

While Little League World Series officials acknowledged that the incident “could be perceived as racially insensitive,” they added in a statement that they had spoken with the child’s mother and coaches and had received assurances that “there was no ill-intent behind the action shown during the broadcast.”

Later, more information was provided by the Davenport Southeast Little League. The Iowa team said that its members were removing the stuffing from a stuffed animal “in an attempt to replicate the white mohawk of the Hawaii team’s main player, who they think is a terrific baseball player with a very cool hairstyle,” in an effort to “emulate the Hawaii team’s top player.”

The Davenport group stated in a statement it placed online, along with video of the player, “Unfortunately, the cameras did not show the boys stuffing the skulls of numerous players” or of the Black player grinning and enjoying his new look.

According to the Iowa group, the team had “absolutely no malice aforethought or racial intentions” and the youngsters were attempting to imitate a player they admired.

“We apologize for any pain this video has caused and are not in any way seeking to downplay the boys’ insensitive racial behavior. To help them understand why it was improper, which none of the lads at the time had realized or understood, we have spoken to the boys. Now that they comprehend it, it has taught them a valuable lesson in life.

The video garnered harsh condemnation online, with many dubbing it racist and others expressing concern that it would deter Black youngsters from participating in sports.

One person said on social media, “That is traumatizing, and the young man looks degraded.” Kids will be kids, the @ESPN announcer had the audacity to suggest. The person tagged the broadcaster in the comment, “Shameful.” A spokeswoman for ESPN said in a statement: “We are in communication with Little League officials regarding the situation and are aware of the sensitive nature of the matter.”

Another user on social media said, “Hey @MLB – you want more Black kids in the game, but this is what happens when they play America’s Pastime.”

Days before to the incident, a Black mother filed a state court lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District, alleging that kids had picked cotton as part of an elementary school assignment to learn about slavery.

Rashunda Pitts claimed in the lawsuit that the project from 2017 was “culturally insensitive” and that her daughter had experienced severe emotional suffering as a result.

When school authorities learned of Pitts’ worries, they immediately removed the cotton plant, a district spokesperson told NBC Los Angeles in October 2017. This month, a district representative told NBC News via email that the district normally doesn’t comment on ongoing or pending lawsuits.

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