The 12-to-14-years-olds who make up the Atlee junior league softball team form Mechanicsville, learned this the hard way on Saturday when they were disqualified from the nationally televised championship game at the Junior League World Series in Kirkland, Wash., after one of them have posted that photo on her Snapchat account- Six of them had their middle fingers extended, and the photo made clear the gesture was intended for Kirkland’s players.
Little League spokesman Kevin Fountain called the post “inappropriate” in a statement to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, describing that it desecrated the league’s “policies regarding unsportsmanlike conduct.”
Scott Currie, the Atlee team manager, disagreed with the decision.
“It’s a travesty for these girls,” Currie told the RichmondTimes–Dispatch on Saturday afternoon “Yes, they screwed up, but I don’t think the punishment fit the crime.”
The team has asked for further investigation into the events leading up to the post in an apologetic statement.
“We are very sorry for the social media post resulting in the disqualification of our softball team contending for the 2017 world championship. Atlee Little League is an organization made up entirely of volunteers with a proven track record of advancing our standards of sportsmanship in youth sports. We are deeply disappointed this social media post did not reflect the core values of Little League International or Atlee Little League.”
However, this story does have a fairly happy ending. On Sunday, when the Atlee team returned home, fans, family, friends and supporters were there waiting for them at the airport, carrying posters that said “Welcome home” and “You are all stars to us.“