The President of the Reisterstown Mustangs said the Carroll County Youth Football and Cheer league banned the team from participating in the playoffs without giving a reason.
Marquita Melvin said the Maryland football league kicked off six teams with the Reisterstown Mustangs and believes racial discrimination is the key factor as to why.
“I believe it is the racial makeup of our program, because we don’t look like other programs in the league and we are treated differently,” Melvin told WBFF. “When you don’t give us a reason, the only thing it has to do with the makeup of our organization, because our organization is predominantly Black, from top to bottom.”
Melvin said she received an email from the Carroll County Football League on Saturday around 9 p.m. stating that the children would “no longer be a part of the Carroll County Football League” or be allowed to “participate in post-season activities such as playoffs.”
The undefeated team is predominantly Black and has endured racial taunting from other teams when playing on the field. The league voiced concern about the Mustang’s behavior or unsportsmanlike conduct, but Melvin argued that the team only violated one memo out of 13 compared to other teams who’ve been into physical altercations.
“They have coaches thrown out of games, fighting. Clearly, there is a bias against us, there is a bias against people who look like us, and that’s clearly been taken out on our children,” Melvin explained to the news station. “If you’re going to discriminate against them, kick them out, not let them have their fair shake, you’re not living up to what you say your true purpose is.”
The CCYFCL stated that the Reisterstown team was admitted on a probationary basis to the league this year and officials were still determining their ongoing status from last year’s season.
“Per the league’s by-laws, new organizations can be barred from further participation at the discretion of the Board of Directors and this action can be taken at any time,” the statement read. “There have been several behavioral concerns involving this program during the season and tension related to how these occurrences were handled has been rising. 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.”