Little League Program Bailing Dukes Out

April 21, 2009 at 2:29 pm Leave a comment

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(Photo By Toni L. Sandys, The Washington Post)

In the wake of the National’s fining and benching Elijah Dukes, the Little League Program he did work with has raised $501 to pay Dukes’ fine and “any administrative expenses”.

Elijah Dukes was doing some charity work on his own the other day when he was slapped with a $500 fine and a benching by manager Manny Acta. Jim Mraz, president of the Great Falls Little League, had this to say about Dukes:

“He stayed for the speeches. He stayed for the parade of Little Leaguers — all 54 teams’ worth. He stayed for the cheerleaders and the introduction of the high school team and the national anthem — perhaps getting a little fidgety, but staying nonetheless. Finally, Elijah Dukes took the microphone, said a few words to the kids and parents about ‘working hard’ and ‘having fun’. Exactly the type of stuff a big-time professional athlete would say on opening day of the local Little League. And then . . . Boom, he sprints to his car and he was gone.”

That is what Dukes was doing before he arrived 5 minutes late to the ballpark and “earned” himself a $500 fine, a benching, and a threat of demotion to Triple-A. Now, that Little League Program has raised the money to pay Dukes’ fine.

A group of parents and league organizers sent emails and got together to raise the $501 to pay the fine and administrative costs. If they raise anything over that amount the excess will go to a Southeast D.C. Little League in Dukes’ name.

“The point is, this guy gave back to our community, and now he’s in a hard spot. We need to help him,” said Mraz, who emphasized he was looking to support Dukes and not criticize the Nationals. “It’s not a question of whether this guy can afford the 500 bucks (he was paid $500 to do the event). We’re just trying to send a message to our kids: He was here for us. Now we’ve got to be there for him.”

So, how ridiculous does Manny Acta look now? Even worse after his comment about the Little League paying the fine: “It makes no difference to us how Dukes pays his fine, as long as it is paid.”

This is where Acta and/or the Nationals’ organization should have stepped in and offered to pay the fine but they feel it is better to stick to their wrong decision. Nice job again Nats!

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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