Glad to see my Dad (Ken Williams Sr. EVP of the White Sox) is being a “better man” for youth he barely knows. Advocating selectively for children is still advocating at the end of the day….
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White Sox’s Ken Williams: JRW players ‘absolutely champions’
White Sox executive Vice President Ken Williams on Jackie Robinson West.
By Colleen Kane
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Kenny Williams Chicago White Sox Jackie Robinson
White Sox executive VP Ken Williams says Jackie Robinson West players are “absolutely champions”
White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams said Wednesday that the Jackie Robinson West players recently stripped of their U.S. Little League title are “absolutely champions” in his mind.
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Williams was speaking from Tarkington School of Excellence following an event for the “Becoming a Man” program, which aims to prevent violence and dropouts in at-risk youth. With children from the BAM program standing behind him for a news conference, he made clear he didn’t believe the JRW players should be punished, despite allegations of a falsified map that contained redrawn boundaries to benefit the team.
“They’re not just champions because of how they won on the field, but because of how they conducted themselves off the field, how they represented the city of Chicago, how they brought together black and white and Latin and Asian, in one particular area to root for one singular cause like I’ve never seen here in Chicago,” Williams said. “So if somebody is going to tell me that they’re now going to take away from 13-year-olds who have given so much to the city, I’ve got to ask where their heart is.”
Over the summer, the Sox made a $20,000 donation to the Jackie Robinson West Little League, presented the players with several gifts and announced that a commemorative plaque would be displayed at U.S. Cellular Field during the 2015 season.
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Williams raised several questions during his 10-minute session discussing JRW, including why the alleged violations were not investigated or discovered sooner. He also questioned how boundaries should apply in some communities where safety and playable fields are major concerns. He said the Sox have encountered some of these concerns with their Amateur City Elite youth baseball program.
“I don’t think they’re applicable in the sense that you have certain areas in this city, and in every city, that may have a baseball field that is a viable baseball field … but two blocks away, it may be just the opposite,” Williams said. “… (With the ACE program), one of the things we had to provide first and foremost was a safe environment, because some of the neighborhoods we were going into had problems with gangs taking the bats, taking the balls.
“If you lock everyone into the same category, if you lock inner-city Chicago into the same category as Naperville or some of the other places, you’re missing the boat. You’re not listening, you’re not in-tune with the people you’re trying to serve. You talk to me about equality, about fairness? The fairness is that the parent in Chicago that is in one of these environments may have to cross boundaries for the safety of their child, may have to do some of the things they’re being accused of at this point.”
Williams said such issues make it hard for him to deal out blame in the JRW case.
“I believe the adults should be held accountable all across the board, moreso than the kids,” Williams said. “That said, if you think I am going to find fault with men or women who are trying to empower kids, who are giving them some hope, who are taking away from their families and their lives, taking time off of work to provide for these kids and in some cases serve as second fathers to them, you’re talking to the wrong person.”
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