While the first College Football Playoff rankings may be upon us, and high school football playoffs draw closer around the country, it’s youth football organizations who get the first taste of playoff football and championship weekend. Kids have showed up all season with hopes of winning a title alongside their friends, but at least one organization isn’t getting that chance.
The Reisterstown Mustangs played in the Carroll County Youth Football League outside of Baltimore, Maryland this season. Ten local organizations added Reisterstown to the CCYFCL on a probationary basis at the start of the 2018 year. All 10 unanimously voted them out prior to the league playoffs citing “several behavioral concerns.” Parents and coaches of the Mustangs were not involved in the vote, and have no idea why their kids were bounced from the league. Many can only land on one conclusion: racism.
The 10 organizations that make up the CCYFCL are comprised of majority white populations, while the six Mustang teams are predominantly black. Reisterstown was unanimously voted out of the league despite having an 11-under team that went 9-0 and allowed only 14 points all season, and a 10-under team that went 8-1.
The league released the following statement after voting out Reisterstown, which excluded the Mustangs from post-season activities including the Playoffs, Superbowl, and Allstar Games, and wished the organization “the best of luck with their future endeavors.”
Nowhere in the press release does it say why Reisterstown was being kicked out of the CCYFCL, but a later inquiry posted to the league’s Facebook page stated the “several behavioral concerns” rhetoric.
In that statement, the league said, “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, the league?s programs voted to remove the Reisterstown program at the end of the regular season and prior to the playoffs.”
The Carroll County Youth Football League’s Facebook page appears to have been deleted after they released these statements.
According to the Reisterstown program’s Facebook, there was only one suspension of a Mustangs player all season, which also happened to be the only two-game suspension in the entire league. Two other organizations, though, had as many as three different disciplinary actions that lead to suspensions or ejections this year.
The president of the Reisterstown Mustangs Youth Football, Marquita Melvin, submitted a scathing email to the CCYFCL criticizing the league’s decision that reads in part:
“This was done without citing any reasons, most likely because the reasons are not politically correct. Therefore we will say to you what our families have been saying to us all season, which is that CCYFCL is a ‘good old boy’ network which only tolerates a majority African-American youth football organization as long as we know our place and don?t have too much success.” — Marquita M. Melvin email to CCYCFL, per The Baltimore Sun
“It was devastating,” said Kristina Ramsey-Allen, whose two sons play for Reisterstown. “It was devastating for coaches, but more so the kids. The kids don?t understand it, they still don?t understand it. We tried to explain it, but what is there to explain? We haven?t even been given a reason to explain to them.”
Ramsey-Allen added, “I sit through games… I have no idea what these people are referring to when they say ‘behavioral concerns.’ Nothing has been written, documented, et cetera. Our kids don?t understand that.”
The Reisterstown Youth Football league has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the undefeated 11-under team to play in national tournaments in Delaware and Georgia, both of which they received invites to.
In most cases, teamwork and dedication throughout an entire season earns you the right, especially as a young kid, to play for a championship. Apparently, the CCYFCL couldn’t reward Reisterstown’s kids for their hard work before kicking them out of their club.