Coronado Mayor asks school board to apologize for condemning team over tortilla incident

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The Coronado High School boys’ basketball team. Photo via @richardbaileymayorcoronado Facebook

Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey called on the Coronado Unified School District Board of Directors to apologize for issuing a statement condemning the Coronado High School basketball team as “fueled by racism , colourism and classism ”, following a tortilla-throwing incident after a championship game.

After Coronado High School’s 60-57 overtime victory in the Boys’ Division 4-A regional final, some members of the crowd at the Coronado gymnasium on June 19 threw tortillas at the largely Latino players of Orange Glen.

As a result, the California Interscholastic Federation canceled the Coronado Championship.

Bailey, who has been a frequent guest on Conservative Fox News, described the actions as a “rush to judgment” on the part of CIF and the school district that falsely characterized the team and the community.

“There is a big difference between unsportsmanlike conduct, racially insensitive unsportsmanlike conduct and racially motivated act,” Bailey said at a press conference Wednesday, where he was joined by dozens of Coronado parents. .

“These are the same student-athletes who nominated two players on their team – who are players who happen to be black and who happen to be half black and half Hispanic – to represent them as team captains.” , he added.

Bailey called the school board’s statement, released the day after the game, premature before any investigation was completed.

Calls to the school district were not immediately returned.

Coronado Unified School District superintendent Karl Mueller – following his review of the audio and video accounts of the incident – said no evidence had been presented forcing the school to forgo the game.

In a three-page letter to CIF executive director Ron Nocetti, Mueller responded to calls from activists and others for Coronado to forfeit.

“In the first-person, audio and video accounts that we have reviewed to date, we have seen no evidence of antagonization by player actions or behaviors that justify giving up the game,” Mueller wrote. “The young men on the pitch played hard, fairly and won the championship. “

The CIF disagreed.

“After a thorough review and analysis of the incident following the conclusion of the Division 4-A Regional Basketball Championship game between Coronado High School and Orange Glen High School, the State Executive Director of CIF reiterates that discriminatory and race-insensitive behavior towards an opponent contravenes the principles of education-based athletics, ”a statement from the CIF read. “In this case, there is no doubt that throwing tortillas at a predominantly Latino team is unacceptable and deserves punishment. “

As a result, Coronado High School has been placed on probation until the end of the 2024 school year, the Islanders basketball team will not be holding a sectional, regional or sectional level playoff contests. State until the 2023 school year and all other teams in the Coronado High School athletic program will not be holding a sectional, regional or state level knock-out contests as long as all administrators, Coronado athletic director, coaches and players will not have completed a sportsmanship workshop that includes a racial / cultural sensitivity training component and completion of game management training for all athletic administrators and directors from Coronado High School.

“While consequences are justified for such blatant action as throwing tortillas at a predominantly Latin American team and the penalties below are imposed on the sports program at Coronado High School, we must all be aware that behavior does not normally not change with sanctions alone. ”the CIF statement continued. “The path to real change is through developing empathy for those who experience this type of degrading and demeaning behavior, regardless of the intent of the behavior. “

Coronado High administration was also “strongly encouraged” to engage with the administration of Orange Glen High School to develop a positive relationship between the two school communities.

Former Coronado student Luke Serna said he brought the tortillas to the game and denied that the act had a racist component. He said he was talking about a tradition at UC Santa Barbara, which he also attended.

“The tortilla throw is used as a celebratory action by the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at various sporting events, including basketball and soccer,” Serna said.

The incident received national attention, with investigations being conducted and town hall meetings held by the San Diego County School District Boards.

Coronado coach JD Laaperi was fired by the Coronado Unified School District board during an emergency meeting on June 22.


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