Things Get Worse for Team After Tortilla-Throwing Incident

Calif. high school basketball players lose regional title over incident
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2021 7:00 AM CDT
Things Get Worse for Team After Tortilla-Throwing Incident
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Gorlov)

A California high school basketball team embroiled in controversy after an incident involving a rival team has had its regional title yanked away. Coronado High School's head basketball coach, JD Laaperi, had already been fired after Coronado supporters at a June 19 championship game threw tortillas at the team of mostly Latino athletes from Orange Glen High School. Now, "after a thorough review and analysis" of the incident after the game, which the mostly white Coronado team won, the California Interscholastic Federation has decided that championship should be "vacated," reports CNN. "Discriminatory and racially insensitive behaviors toward an opponent contravene the principles of education-based athletics," the CIF says in a release. "In this instance, there is no doubt the act of throwing tortillas at a predominately Latino team is unacceptable and warrants sanctions."

And there are more sanctions: The basketball team is on probation through 2024 and cannot host postseason games at the section, regional, or state levels for the next two school years. All of the high school's administrators, sports teams, and athletic staff are also mandated to take a sportsmanship workshop that includes racial and cultural sensitivity training. The federation emphasized that the sanctions aren't enough to remedy what happened last month. "The path towards real change comes with the development of empathy for those who are on the receiving end of this type of degrading and demeaning behavior, no matter the proffered intent of that behavior," it notes. The CIF says its decision can be appealed, per KGTV. Coronado Unified School District says in a statement it's considering whether it will do so. (Here, some commentary from members of the community.)

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