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May 11, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A game between Walter Payton and Brooks high schools on Saturday was bigger than a baseball.
Their original game was canceled at the last minute by Payton, and rumors circulated as to why. One of the coaches originally said some Payton parents were concerned about safety in the Roseland neighborhood, where Brooks is located.
"We want to win, help represent the neighborhood, and it's just a good clean game of baseball," David McKnight, Brooks player, said.
"Hopefully we move all on from this, and everybody gets a good learning experience from all this and just move on," William Wittleder, Payton coach, said.
Wittleder initially said parents from his North Side school had safety concerns about the game at Brooks' South Side field in the rough-and-tumble Roseland neighborhood. But CPS dismissed that claim, saying the game was canceled because no bus transportation had been arranged for the Payton team.
"You know, I don't want to talk about that right now, Eric. I just want us to get ourselves ready for ball and just move on from all that stuff," Wittleder said.
"A big unnecessary mess. Just total miscommunication," Tommy Molina, Payton parent, said.
To help mend fences, CPS arranged a breakfast for Payton and Brooks players.
"It was actually pretty fun. We sat down, talked, ate. We learned stuff about each other," Mikyel Guiton, Brooks player, said.
"I told my son it's not what's done to you or what's said to you that counts, but how do you react to what's said and done that matters," Anthony McFerren, Brooks parent, said.
Wittleder also came under fire when some Payton parents accused him of benching players for missing practice due to AP testing and college visits. Wittleder denies that.
"You're always going to have your people that back you, and you're going to have people that disagree. I think that goes in every job that some people like you, some people don't," Wittleder
Payton won the game, 11-2.