ENTERTAINMENT/FEMINISM - Little League Baseball Canada has struck out today with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, losing a sex discrimination case filed by a Victoria girls softball team.
In 2005 the Beacon Hill Little League Major Girls softball team was denied funding for the team's trip to the national championship in Windsor, Ontario and was told they had to fund raise. Their counterpart boys team was given free funding by Little League Baseball Canada to attend the same event.
The girls eventually raised the money themselves through fundraisers and anonymous donations and attended the tournament. They won the tournament and went on to represent Canada at an international tournament in Portland, Ore.
Four years later the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ordered the league to pay $1,000 each to the 13 members of the 2005 team.
In a 74-page decision, tribunal member Marlene Tyshynski found the league had engaged in discriminatory conduct against the team of 11- and 12-year-old girls in 2005.
"I find that every team member suffered an injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect due to the discriminatory conduct of the Little League," said Tyshynski's ruling. "I have determined that the impact of the (travel) policy on the team gives rise to a prima facie case of sex-based discrimination that impedes the team's full and free participation in the social and cultural life of British Columbia."
Tyshynski noted the league's records showed a surplus of almost $210,000 in 2005 and also said the league showed disregard for the impact its travel policy could have on female players and noted that some of the players told the tribunal they felt stress and concern about not being able to have enough money to attend the tournament.
Little League Baseball Canada took another strike earlier this week when the Canada Revenue Agency stripped the league of its status as a registered athletic association and the right to provide donors with receipts for income tax purposes.
League president Roy Bergerman and Little League officials argued that the boys' games are "officially sanctioned events" while the girls' games are just optional, claiming that girls don't go on to careers in baseball.
Admittedly there isn't a lot of women in professional baseball, but who's fault is that? The women athletes who participate and try out? Or the little leagues and minor leagues that train them?
In addition to the cash award for injury to the girls' dignity, the tribunal ordered the league to overhaul its travel policy to prevent similar complaints in future.
On Monday, the Canada Revenue Agency stripped the league of its status as a registered athletic association, meaning the league can no longer provide receipts to donors for income tax purposes. According to the revenue agency, the minor league ball association issued more than $82 million in receipts in 2007 for what the government calls "abusive transactions arising from its role as a participant in a tax shelter arrangement." Little League Baseball Canada is now sitting on a huge surplus of hundreds of millions of dollars.
On Monday league president Bergerman admitted the league ran a tax-shelter scheme and that league staff was now living "quite well off" thanks to the millions of dollars in surplus cash. The organization has only two full-time employees, including Bergerman himself.
So not only are they sexist and greedy, but apparently league president Roy Bergerman is a scam artist.
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