Jackie Robinson West parents sue league, ESPN, whistleblower

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CHICAGO — The parents of 13 members of the Chicago Little League team stripped last year of its 2014 U.S. championship are suing team officials, Little League Baseball, an ESPN sportscaster and the man who exposed the team’s residency violations.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court claimsJackie Robinson West officials and the Little League “concealed the ineligibility of team members in order to reap the benefits of notoriety and media attention.”

The lawsuit alleges Little League officials should have figured out the team’s violations sooner. The parents say ESPN’s Stephen Smith defamed them by accusing them of “perpetrating a fraud.”

Spokesmen for ESPN and the Little League said their organizations had not yet reviewed the lawsuit.

Bill Haley, JRW director in 2014, and Chris Janes, who reported the residency issues, couldn’t immediately be reached.

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