Mom Who Exposed Racist Facebook Comment Speaks Out
Oak Lawn baseball mom says suspension of youth league president who made racist comment on his personal Facebook page "doesn't fit the crime."
The black mother who exposed a racist comment made by the white president of her son’s youth baseball league on Facebook said she feels “betrayed” that the league’s board didn’t force the man to resign.
John T. Kelly, president of the Westside Baseball League in Oak Lawn, admitted to posting a racist comment on his personal Facebook page about the late singer Whitney Houston, in which he called her a "n---er."
On Monday, the youth league’s board suspended Kelly indefinitely as president until he completes a sensitivity training course, which he has agreed to pay for. Even upon completion of the class, the board says Kelly’s return as league president “isn’t guaranteed.”
Kelly is also banned from coaching a team for one year.
The mother, who lives in Oak Lawn, does not want her name used. Kelly has also said he doesn’t want her identified. She was unaware of the story that appeared in Patch on Tuesday about the Facebook comment until a friend contacted her.
“I feel betrayed,” she said. "I feel like they’re looking at color instead of what is morally correct. If it wasn’t me, I think they would take a different action.”
Her son, who is now 12, has been involved with the league for eight years. Last year her son was part of a team that traveled to Cooperstown, NY, to play in a tournament. A single parent, she’s always helped out with the league whenever she could. Other parents concurred.
“I’ve coached softball, and I’ve been a ‘team mom,’” she said of her role providing snacks for the boys. “I did everything that I was asked. I’ve sold fundraising tickets.”
She was told she could only attend Monday’s board meeting—which was a closed session—if she wanted to present something.
“I was upset. I wanted to be there.”
The comment about Whitney Houston was not the first time Kelly had posted something questionable on his Facebook page, she said.
“John and I had been cordial because our kids are close friends,” she said. “He would make implications, post a picture of something, but he never used the n-word.”
It was her children's father who alerted her to the comment about the late singer.
“When he posted this one I hadn’t been on Facebook for a while. I said enough is enough and called him an a------. How dare you,” she said. “As long as you're president, my children won’t be playing in the league.”
The mother said it was true that she copied Kelly’s comment and put it on the league’s Facebook page, where it was seen by young children.
“I posted it to get people’s support,” she said. ‘I asked, ‘Do you want this guy around your children.’”
The two tried to resolve their differences. The mother and Kelly met last week at a Dunkin’ Donuts. Kelly told Patch he apologized to her “100 times over.”
The mom says there was no apology and left “after things started getting loud.”
He questioned why she had parked in a handicapped space at the restaurant. The mom said she has had several back surgeries and is on disability.
“He asked why I was attacking him personally,” she said. “I told him I just felt like the [Houston] comment was the last straw and that I didn’t think he was a good role model for children. He started swearing.”
When the two could not work out their differences, the youth league's board called a special meeting. Kelly was suspended indefinitely.
“I don’t think the punishment fits the crime,” she said. “I’m so hurt by this. I thought I was going to get an apology. I told the board members he needs to be removed. All different nationalities play in the league. He never should have been president.”