A Sidney American Legion baseball player has learned a valuable lesson about the consequences sending objectionable messages on social media. The Nebraska American Legion Baseball Athletic Committee has suspended a Sidney player for the rest of the season for after an investigation determined they sent an ethnically insensitive message to an Alliance player on Snapchat. The committee also handed down a two-game suspension to the coach of the Sidney program.

The suspensions stem from an incident that occurred during an American Legion Juniors contest at Sidney’s Legion Field between Sidney and Alliance on May 24th.  During the game, Alliance players informed their coach that a Sidney player had made a racially offensive comment to an Alliance player on the field. The offence was reported to the state Athletic Committee who contacted both coaches as well as the umpires working the game. It was determined that since none of them had heard any of the comments in question, no action would be taken.

That all changed with the Snapchat message. A screenshot of the message was forwarded to state committee representatives, prompting a decision to suspend the Sidney player for the season and initially imposed a 5-game suspension on head coach Mike Hashman, pending appeal by Sidney Baseball.

That appeal was heard on Saturday, June 12th in Lincoln. Sidney presented letters of apology sent to Alliance’s program from the Sidney player involved, statements from the Sidney Baseball Board and Sidney’s coaches, plus social media posts from Alliance players directed at Sidney’s players. In the end, the Baseball Athletic Committee upheld the suspension of the Sidney player for the rest of the season but reduced the suspension on Coach Hashman to two games. The committee also placed the Sidney program on probation for the rest of the season, which does not affect their ability to participate in Area or State tournaments.

When reached for comment about the situation, Sidney coach Mike Hashman said he thought the suspensions were a bit harsh, especially for the player involved. Hashman, who has already sat out his 2-games, said that the Sidney Baseball Board has been very supportive throughout the situation. Hashman says in the end, “We just want to play baseball.”

Sidney Juniors return to the field Wednesday when they host Fort Morgan in a double-header at Legion Field. The Sidney Seniors will be in Alliance this weekend for a 3-day tournament.