UPDATE ― 8:07 p.m. EDT, June 30, 2021: The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) announced Wednesday that Coronado High School will have to vacate the championship as a result of the incident.
In addition, the school’s basketball team is on probation for the 2021-2022, 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years and cannot host postseason contests at the sectional, regional or state levels for the next two school years.
In addition, the school’s administrators, athletic directors, coaches and student-athletes will have to complete a workshop on sports conduct that includes training in racial/cultural sensitivity.
The Coronado High administration is also “strongly encouraged to engage with the administration at Orange Glen High School to begin the process of developing a positive relationship between the two school communities.”
A Southern California high school basketball team is under fire after students celebrated a win over a predominantly Latino school by throwing tortillas on the court.
On June 21, Coronado High School beat Orange Glen High School 60-57. Right after the win, tortillas were tossed toward the Orange Glen athletes, an action that Orange Glen assistant coach Lizardo Reynoso called “disturbing.”
“Our guys are still kind of bothered, especially a lot of our Hispanic guys, like, ‘Why would they do that?’” Reynoso told San Diego CBS affiliate KFMB. “They understand that there’s a lot of racism and hate going on today, but to top that off with a defeat after working so hard all year, it’s like a slap in the face.”
Ironically, the incident comes just a week after students at Coronado High School, which is near San Diego, held a walk against racism, the station reported.
The incident reportedly began when the Orange Glen players were walking over to the Coronado players for the traditional post-game handshake.
“The head coach and the assistant coach came over to our bench and kind of said some words that were inappropriate and told us that we should take our kids and ‘get the F out’ because we were a bunch of losers,” Reynoso told NBC San Diego.
Shortly after, some of the Coronado players were seen hurling tortillas toward the Orange Glen team.
“It’s racist and it was planned,” Andres Rivera, the father of an Orange Glen player, told the station.
Coronado Police told NBC San Diego that the male adult who brought the tortillas has been identified but the incident remains under investigation.
HuffPost reached out to the Coronado Unified School District and the San Diego chapter of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the state’s governing body for high school sports, for comment, but calls were not immediately returned.
The school’s superintendent, Karl Mueller, did release a statement saying, in part, that “swift action will be taken to address all those involved, and they will be held accountable. it is our hope to create opportunities to dialogue with the orange glen community in an attempt to repair.”
The Coronado school board also sent a letter of apology to the Escondido Union High School District, which includes Orange Glen High School, acknowledging the tortilla tossing was “egregious, demeaning, and disrespectful,” and added, “We fully condemn the racism, classism and colorism which fueled the actions of the perpetrators,” according to the Escondido Times-Advocate.
The San Diego chapter of the CIF released a statement on Sunday saying it is reviewing the incident and that the organization “prohibits discrimination or any acts that are disrespectful or demeaning toward a member school, student-athlete, or school community.”
San Diego mayor Todd Gloria (D) also condemned the incident, telling Fox 5 San Diego that it proved that “we have a lot of work to do as a community.”
He added: “I just hope the folks there at the school district take this as a teachable moment and work with these young people,” Gloria told FOX 5. “Help them understand this is not acceptable and quite honestly is not going to set them up well for success.”
None of the statements suggest that Coronado might be forced to forfeit the match.
Still, Orange Glen basketball player Christian Martinez said the actions from the Coronado side left a bad taste in his mouth.
“For it being my last game, I think it was pretty bad,” Martinez told NBC San Diego. “You don’t want to go down with an ‘L’ but also the extra stuff like the tortillas and all the smack talking with the coaches. That was really disrespectful.”