The only youth lacrosse league in the Dakotas is accused of systemic racism leading to the expulsion of three majority-Native teams from the league.
According to this remarkable piece of investigative journalism in Deadspin, the Dakotas Premier Lacrosse League recently barred three teams from competing in its league. The common denominator for all three teams is that they’re comprised largely of Native American players.
The long winding path that led to the teams disqualification is relatively long, but also pretty simply put. Eventually the director of the 7 Flames Lacrosse, Cody Hall, called DPLL league administrator Corey Mitchell to complain about longstanding allegations of racism. Mitchell allegedly acknowledged that there were issues related to racism but said he was powerless to change them. Then he proceeded to tell Hall that his team was no longer welcome in the league, noting that the other two majority-Native teams would also be barred from competing.
The conversation took place just a week before registration was set to open for the league, giving 7 Flames and the other teams virtually no time to find a new league in which to compete.
“[Mitchell] wanted to give them as little time as possible to fight this,” Michael Butler, a former DPLL official, told Deadspin contributing writer Curtis Waltman. “He did everything in his power to make sure these teams would not be able to come back this year. Which is totally unprofessional and frankly, evil.”
There’s much, much more to the story which we wholeheartedly encourage you to consume right here. That includes a recorded conversation with Mitchell, players citing frequent racist terms including,“savages,” “dirty Indians,” “prairie niggers,” “bunch of drunks,” and others.
It’s all a very seamy slice of American pie unfolding in the upper Midwest, without a clear resolution in sight. That’s a shame for all involved, particularly the teenagers who just want to play their favorite game.