UPDATE: Board officially bans Mini-Mohawks from playoffs

WB Youth football

UPDATE (8:40am): The decision is final. The South Wilkes-Barre Mini-Mohawks will not be in the playoffs.

A parent on the team tells FOX56 not one member on the "Wyoming Valley Junior Football Conference" board voted in favor of reinstating the team.

They say it's a punishment for a fight that broke out after a member of the Pittston Patriots shouted a racial slur at a player.


(ORIGINAL STORY): Little league controversy is brewing in one part of Luzerne County.

A fight on the field has lead to a playoff suspension.

Conference officials say it all started with a racial slur.

On Tuesday night, one by one, parents and players on the South Wilkes-Barre Mini Mohawks turned in their uniforms.

Last week, conference leaders disqualified all four Mohawks teams from the playoffs.

All because of a fight on the field, between the Mohawk's A-team and the Pittston Junior Patriots.

Conference officials say players on the Patriots, a mostly white team, shouted racial slurs towards the Mohawks.

Those kids are mostly Black or Latino.

A fight quickly broke out, police were called, and parents were told both teams were suspended.

"We weren't going to be allowed to play in the playoffs. But, if we had good behavior, we would be able to earn our spot back into the playoffs. Now, the end of the season is here, it's playoff time, and the conference said that we're out," Ameerah Clark, a parent, told FOX56.

Parents and coaches say the decision is unfair, since the Mohawks are divided into four teams.

Only one team was in the fight.

After the suspension, they believe all four teams went above and beyond what was expected to prove they were eligible to participate in the playoffs.

"You don't take away games and punish children that had absolutely nothing to do with the situation," Mohawks Coach David Jannuzzi said.

The conference says it disqualified the team due to the magnitude of the situation, and since it had a history of inappropriate behavior in the past.

Many parents and coaches disagree with the board's decision saying when it comes down to it, they think it's all about race.

"If you ask anyone from the other teams and they say 'oh you're a Mohawk?' and you're from the Wilkes-Barre team, they automatically think something bad is happening here. And they're kids," Clark said.

"It makes the people in the organization that much worse and feel like there's still people out there that are trying to suppress them. And we're in 2017,"Jannuzzi added.

We're told the Patriots didn't qualify for the playoffs, which are scheduled to begin this weekend.

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