Story Summary

Controversy over forfeited baseball game

A planned baseball game between Walter Payton College Prep and Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep Saturday night was cancelled after Payton couldn’t field enough players to participate.

Brooks baseball coach Bryan Street tells WGN-TV Payton’s coach, William Wittleder, blamed the forfeiture on a group of parents who refused to allow their children to participate due to safety concerns at the South Side school.  The high school is located at 250 E. 111th St. in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood.

The game was rescheduled for Saturday May 11 at Brooks.

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Chicago Public School officials hosted a fellowship breakfast Friday for baseball players and coaches from Walter Payton and Gwendolyn Brooks College Preps.

Reporters weren’t allowed in, but we’re told the teams enjoyed pancakes and sausage along with some fellowship.

The breakfast was intended to quell a controversy sparked by last weekend’s last minute cancellation of a Saturday night game between the two schools on the Brooks South Side campus.

Payton coaches called off the game, saying several parents had expressed safety concerns.

That was interpreted by Brooks families and coaches as racist.

Payton’s principal later tried to clarify, saying parents were originally told a bus would be provided for the trip.

However, the bus was cancelled and parents were told the players would have to make their own transportation plans.

Friday morning’s breakfast was held at school headquarters at 125 South Clark, described as a neutral site.

It’s hoped sharing the meal will lessen tensions when the rescheduled game is played next Saturday

A High School baseball game that’s caused controversy from the North Side to the South Side of Chicago has been rescheduled.

The baseball teams from Walter Payton College Preparatory High School and Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy will play a make-up game on Saturday at Brooks’ field.

Payton’s coach said the team forfeited last Saturday’s game because parents did not want their sons traveling to the Roseland neighborhood over safety concerns. Payton is located on the Near North Side, while Brooks is on the Far South Side.

Payton school officials dismissed the  claim and said the cancellation was over a leadership issue with the baseball program. They say Payton’s coach did not communicate the game’s date, time and transportation details to parents.

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has reportedly met with coaches from both teams. They discussed what steps could be taken to prevent the misunderstanding from happening again.

A cancelled Chicago high school baseball game — the reason? In dispute. But whether it’s scheduling or safety, it won’t be settled until the two teams play.

Mayor Emanuel went to Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep for a game to show his support. Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett met with Walter Payton College Prep’s principal and baseball coach to help start the healing process from a rift that now seems to be born out of a misunderstanding.

The two teams will play a make up game on Saturday, May 4,  in the Roseland neighborhood on Chicago’s Far South Side.

CPS says it was a miscommunication and a transportation issue, but the coaches at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep say the Walter Payton College Prep coach told them parents wouldn’t let their kids play baseball there Saturday night because they were afraid for their safety.

Roseland residents around Brooks HS are concerned about the perception of their neighborhood. Long-time resident Jeffrey Graham talked to me outside his three flat with its manicured lawn right across from the high school.  He said that pocket of the neighborhood has little crime because residents take pride in their community.

Opinions are still raging after a Chicago high school baseball game was apparently forfeited because parents of one school thought the other school was not safe.

The coach of Walter Payton College Prep reluctantly told Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep his team wouldn’t make a Saturday night game because of parents concerns, something Chicago Public Schools is downplaying.

CPS says it was a miscommunication and a transportation issue.

The game has since been rescheduled for Saturday, May 4 at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep, according to a CPS spokeswoman.

On Monday afternoon, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett met with the principal and baseball coach from Walter Payton High School

“This was an opportunity for her to hear directly from both of them to hear what happened, and what could be done to prevent it from happening in the future,” said Kelley Quinn, CPS Director of News Affairs. “They also discussed what could be done to start the healing process between both school communities.”

Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep is located at 250 E. 111th St. in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood.

Roseland residents near the high school are concerned about the perception of their neighborhood.  Long time resident Jeffrey Graham told WGN outside his three-flat with its manicured lawn right across from the high school. He said that pocket of the neighborhood has little crime because residents take pride in their community.

A planned baseball game between Walter Payton College Prep and Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep Saturday night was cancelled after Payton couldn’t field enough players to participate.

Brooks baseball coach Bryan Street tells WGN-TV Payton’s coach, William Wittleder, blamed the forfeiture on a group of parents who refused to allow their children to participate due to safety concerns at the South Side school.  The high school is located at 250 E. 111th St. in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood.

CPS officials, however, are telling a different story. A spokesperson for Chicago Public Schools says there are several reasons why there weren’t enough Payton players available to participate, including scheduling and transportation issues, and players benched for missing practice.  In an email to parents, Payton Principal Timothy Devine said the forfeiture was the result of “leadership issues within the baseball team.”

In a joint statement, Devine and Brooks HS Principal D’Andre Weaver said, “This has been a very unfortunate misunderstanding between our school communities. We spoke today about the situation leading up to the forfeit of Saturday’s game and feel it is time to move past this and allow our student athletes to focus on their futures. We look forward to both of our schools meeting on the field again soon.”

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