RICHMOND, Va. (WNCN) — A girl’s softball team issued a statement after they were tossed out of the Junior League Softball World Series this weekend following what officials called an “inappropriate” social media post.
Atlee’s all-star softball team was disqualified from its World Series championship game in Kirkland, Washington over the social media posting.
The response from Atlee on Sunday appeared to indicate that they received “unpleasant interactions” which led up to the social media post.
Little League officials announced the decision to remove Atlee Saturday morning, just hours ahead of the championship game which was broadcast live on ESPN2.
An Atlee team member posted a photo on Snapchat with six of the girls showing their middle finger. WRIC obtained the photo which shows a group of players in the dugout flashing their middle fingers at the camera with the caption “watch out host.”
The post was directed at the host club from Kirkland, Washington, which Atlee defeated in the semifinals.
The statement from Atlee on Sunday said, in part: “… we will comply with this investigation by providing all information about unpleasant interactions including the social media post and the time leading up to that event — not all of which were on the part of those of the Atlee softball team.”
The host Kirkland team replaced Atlee in the championship.
The team is made up of 12- to 14-year-old girls from the Atlee area near Richmond.
The Atlee team reached the World Series after going undefeated in both the Virginia State and Southeast Regional tournaments.
Here is the full Atlee 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. We expect Little League International will take the time to fully investigate the matter, and we will comply with this investigation by providing all information about unpleasant interactions including the social media post and the time leading up to that event — not all of which were on the part of those of the Atlee softball team. We desire to protect all youth who are recipients of inappropriate behavior both on and off the field, as we take very seriously our charge to impart the value of good sportsmanship. It is important to remember the young women athletes involved in this unfortunate event are minors who are part of the fabric of this community that supported them and which they were honored to represent. Those involved feel very deeply this lapse in judgement, and wish your consideration for their privacy at this time. These young athletes are part of Atlee Little League. As all young athletes are trained to do, they will brush themselves off after a loss, and try again—after having learned a most valuable lesson.”
— WRIC-TV and The Associated Press contributed to this report