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A big stink was made over the weekend about the baseball team from Walter Payton HS in Chicago not wanting to go to the South Side for a baseball game. It ended up on the front page Mid-Day Open Thread with a direct accusation of racism. Below the fold is a letter written to the editor of the Sun-Times asking them to clarify the situation as the forfeiture of the game was not caused by white people wetting themselves at the prospect of going down to the South Side for a baseball game.

Hello,
My name is Mattison Johnston and I am currently a junior at Walter Payton College Prep. Recently I have felt embarrassed and targeted as a Payton student - feelings that differ from the typical sense of pride I hold for my school. However, the embarrassment I feel is in no part caused by any action taken by my school or classmates. Rather, it stems from the malicious verbal attack aimed at Payton by the Sun Times in order to fabricate an entertaining news story. At first I was shocked and appalled by the actions of the baseball team until several players explained that the reason for the forfeit was due to the games poor scheduling; They were to leave the game at 11 PM, after already having played a double-header that very day, with no transportation to or from the game, which was almost 2 hours away from Payton via CTA.
Payton is a wonderfully diverse and well-educated school, which has always whole-heartedly supported equality, while condemning all manifestations of bigotry. Of course, every high school community lacks perfection in political correctness, but this instance was not a lapse in ethics. Being a student of Payton who lives on the far south side, I have never experienced any kind of judgment from my peers, teachers, coaches, etc. Never in a million years would I have imagined that Payton would be the target of scrutiny.
Payton students come from all over the city. Once a year, the entire student body participates in Sweetness Day: A day of community service, in which we travel to neighborhoods of all sorts, including ones similar in location to the one surrounding Brooks College Prep. Our sports teams frequent the South Side, West Side, and far North Side all year round, and we have never had a problem with any school or neighborhood. We have played teams of every demographic, in every neighborhood in the city, with no regard to socio-economic status. It is preposterous to suggest that any sense of racism or classism exists in the Payton community.
Now, all this has been set aside. My school is suddenly being slandered by the media, based off of misguided and factually inaccurate quotes, with no consideration to the true intentions behind the forfeit. The sheer amount of hatred and shame directed towards Payton warrants an apology and correction from the Sun Times, who have taken advantage of an unfortunate situation in order to sell papers.
I urge all subscribers to the media outlets who have shared this story to reflect on what I have said, examine the facts, and form an education opinion on the matter, rather than blindly believing the misinformation shared by the Sun Times.
With great appreciation for your time,
Mattison Johnston
Let's hope the Sun-Times corrects the record and we're not all so quick to blow our own race whistles.

GD

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