Thursday, April 25, 2024

High School Basketball Coach Fired After Tortilla- Throwing Incident Involving a Predominantly Latino team

A school board in Southern California decided to fire a basketball coach in the wake of widespread criticism after tortillas were thrown at an opposing team.

The board’s decision comes after some people in the audience threw tortillas to the Latino team as an altercation ensued at the end of a division championship between Coronado High and Orange Glen High, a predominantly Latino school. The incident was captured on video by bystanders and the National Federation of State High School Associations Network (NFHS), which was livestreaming the game.

When the final buzzer rang and gave Coronado a 60-57 win, the opposing team began getting ready to shake hands when the incident took place. Lizard Reynoso, assistant basketball head coach at Orange Glen stated, “It took us a minute to realize that they were trying to send a kind of racial hatred message to us.”

As a Mexican American, he said that he quickly became upset but focused his energy on encouraging playing to keep their heads up and remind them that they shouldn’t be embarrassed. The incident has drawn criticism from school district officials, civil rights organizations, and state lawmakers, who have described the incident as a “glaring example of racism.”

Leaders of the California Latino Legislative Caucus stated, “This goes beyond a teaching moment, it’s a glaring example of racism from students who are old enough to know better.” The Coronado Police Department said that officers were called to assist the school staff in clearing the gym of the spectators. The officers later identified a man they believed brought the tortillas to the game.

Domingo Garcia, national president of League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) said, “The act of throwing tortillas was meant to perpetuate the worst kind of racist reaction. against athletes, coaches and their families and dismissed the idea that it was planned as a celebratory action. For years, Texas Tech football fans have thrown tortillas into the field to confuse opponents during games. LULAC will not accept this behavior as the new normal in America and acts of racial hate directed at Latinos will not be condoned or dismissed as kids-will be kids.”

During the board meeting, members of the Coronado school district condemned the incident. Esther Valdes- Clayton said that Latinos couldn’t ignore the symbolism of the tortillas, “I just want everyone to understand that the racial tones, the classicism that was displayed as well as the colorism that was displayed was evident to every Latino from the West Coast to the East Coast.”