A predominantly black youth football team in Maryland was thrown out of its league and banned from the playoffs without being given a reason, reports Fox Baltimore.
The Reisterstown Mustangs went undefeated in the Carroll County Youth Football and Cheer league, but after the season concluded, and before the playoffs, they were sent a letter saying they had been thrown out of the league and would not be allowed in the playoffs.
“I believe it is the racial makeup of our program, because we don’t look like other programs in the league and we are treated differently,” said team president Marquita Melvin. “When you don’t give us a reason, the only thing it has to do with the makeup of our organization, because our organization is predominantly black, from top to bottom.”
Reisterstown Mustangs team president Melvin said the children had to endure being called racial slurs during their undefeated romp.
The league cited vague “behavioral concerns” and said the children would “risk the safety” of the majority white teams because “emotions tend to run high during playoffs.”
“The Reisterstown program was admitted to the league this year on a probationary basis with a decision regarding their ongoing status to be made by the members at the conclusion of the season. Per the leagues by-laws, new organizations can be barred from further participation at the discretion of the Board of Directors and this action can be taken at any time. There have been several behavioral concerns involving this program during the season and tension related to how these occurrences were handled has been rising. Emotions tend to run high during playoffs, therefore, the league elected not to risk the safety of the participants and in an attempt to promote a safe conclusion to the season.”
Melvin pointed out that a memo documenting 13 problems in the league only cited the Mustangs for one infraction, a late hit.
Meanwhile, the white teams have engaged in fighting and had their coaches tossed out by referees.
“They have coaches thrown out of games, fighting. Clearly there is a bias against us, there is a bias against people who look like us, and that’s clearly been taken out on our children,” she said. “If you’re going to discriminate against them, kick them out, not let them have their fair shake, you’re not living up to what you say your true purpose is.”
Other parents took to Facebook to share their concerns.
“The CCYFCL and Carroll County Parks and Recreation are hiding behind bylaws that we have never seen, secret votes and meetings, and false allegations of behavioral concerns,” said one parent.
The team posted a message urging people to contact the league officials who banned the team.