After two professional baseball players started a major-league brawl in May, a group of Grade 4 students in Toronto wanted them and the MLB to answer for their missteps.
Days after the game, April Stevens' fourth grade class at Humbercrest Public School mailed a letter directly to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, calling the organization out for the fight that broke out when Texas Ranger Rougned Odor decked Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista in the jaw, and the aftermath.
The posted video shows a clip of the incident, where second baseman Odor punched Bautista for a takeout slide. Teammates on both sides jumped in, some shoving and some trying to calm the situation.
"We think what happened Sunday was wrong," the students wrote. "Major athletes were acting like children, even though they should know better."
The nine- and 10-year-olds worried about the example this set, since many young people look up to professional athletes. The class said they don't believe that fighting should be the answer unless it's to protect yourself or others.
Not only did the young class disapprove that the players resorted to fists, but they thought the punishment was far too light.
Elementary school kids in Toronto can face up to a 19-day suspension for fighting, meanwhile Odor — who faced the harshest punishment — was only suspended for eight games. For the other players and staff who were punished, most were just banned for one to three games or faced a fine.
The students wanted to see a longer suspension for Odor, considering the lack of restraint he showed. In the end, the Ranger was back on the field as of Saturday, after appealing the ban down to seven games. But the Toronto class did get a response from the commissioner himself.
"Major athletes were acting like children, even though they should know better."
Manfred agreed that what happened was wrong. In his letter, he writes that they expect the their players carry themselves with "dignity and professionalism" and that their behaviour deserved "serious consequences".
He defended the punishment that was doled out, writing it was the longest suspension given for an on-field altercation in more than three years.
The response alone shocked Stevens and her entire class, according to CBC News Toronto.
She said her class has written public figures before, but this was the first time they'd gotten a response, according to Sportsnet.
Stevens said she's always encouraged her students to have and share their opinions.
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