A mayor of Southern California demanded an apology from his city’s school district for calling the boy’s high school basketball team’s tortilla throw racist.
Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey said the school board’s statement condemning the act as branding the racist, classicism and colorist was premature, as an investigation was not even launched yet.
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Bailey added that the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) decision to strip the team of a high school championship was a “rush to judge.”
“There is a big difference between unsportsmanlike conduct, unsportsmanlike conduct that is racially insensitive and a racially motivated act,”
Coronado High School defeated Orange Glen High School, 60-57, in overtime. Video posted on social media showed coaches from both high schools quarreled as tortillas were thrown at players from Orange Glen, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
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Orange Glen High School is a predominantly Latin American school located in Escondido.
Luke Serna admitted to bringing tortillas to the game, claiming there was no racial intent, saying he had tried to emulate a tradition UC Santa Barbara had made at various sporting events.
A Coronado school board member told City News Service on Wednesday that the responsibility for preventing the incident does not lie with the adults. Board Vice President Esther Valdes said the actions were “derogatory, humiliating and racist” and stood by the decision to apologize to the Escondido community.
CIF stood by its decision to deprive Coronado of the title and put the school to the test.
“After a thorough review and analysis of the incident following the conclusion of the Division 4-A Regional Basketball Championship between Coronado High School and Orange Glen High School, the CIF State Executive Director reiterates that discriminatory and racially insensitive behavior towards an opponent is contrary to principles of education-based athletics, “said CIF.
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“In this case, there is no doubt that throwing tortillas at a predominantly Latino team is unacceptable and justifies sanctions.”