A California community demands accountability after tortillas were thrown at a basketball court following a high school game in what appeared to be a racist taunt at the losing team, whose players were predominantly Latinos.
Coronado High School had narrowly clinched a victory over Orange Glen High School on Saturday night when people started tossing tortillas at the losing team. Many Orange Glen players are of Latino descent, according to NBC San Diego.
The game was a regional league game for the California Interschool Federation, which condemned the behavior in a statement Sunday. League rules prohibit “disrespectful or humiliating” acts against another school, CIF said.
“We are therefore working with the administration of the two high schools to resolve this problem and upon receipt and review of the incident reports from the two schools, the CIF will determine the appropriate next steps,” the statement said.
The Coronado Unified School District also released a statement about the incident, apologizing to Orange Glen High School for what it described as “objectionable” and “unsportsmanlike” behavior. The district also said it hopes it could become a “good time to learn” for its students.
“Swift action will be taken to reach out to all involved, and they will be held accountable,” the statement said. “We hope to create opportunities for dialogue with the Orange Glen community to attempt to repair.”
It is not known who threw the tortilla toss and if it was a student-led effort. The Coronado Police Department has not publicly identified an instigator, but said an adult male brought the tortillas to the game.
Officers have been asked to help clean the gym after the incident and are asking anyone with additional information to contact the department.
Orange Glen High School assistant coach Lizardo Reynoso told NBC San Diego the tortillas were tossed shortly after the school’s players went to congratulate the winning team.
“The head coach and assistant coach came to our bench and kind of said inappropriate words and told us we should take our kids and ‘take the F off’ because we were a bunch of losers.” , said Reynoso.
One parent called the tortilla throw “racist” and “planned.” One of the players, Christian Martinez, said it was a disappointing end to his last game.
âYou don’t want to fall with an ‘L’ but also some extra stuff like tortillas and all the chatter with the coaches,â Martinez said. “It was really disrespectful.”
The endgame scene also sparked outrage within the community, especially from State MP Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, who tweeted that her own daughter had suffered racist taunts as a student athlete in San Diego.
“Summary: Coronado high school should be sanctioned by the CIF or forfeited its championship,” Gonzalez-Fletcher said. âWe should have universal condemnation of this activity. Parents in SD County know that racist taunts against Latino athletes are all too common. It’s time to stop it.