Things That Matter

Racist Fans Throw Tortillas At Basketball Players From A Largely Latino High School

Over the weekend, video from a high school basketball game in San Diego went viral around the world as it showed members from one team throwing tortillas at another team from a largely Latino high school. The aftermath of the tortilla-throwing incident continues to ripple through the region, with news briefings and school board meetings set to discuss the act, which some have deemed as racist.

The high school basketball game has gone viral for all the wrong reasons.

From the San Diego mayor to numerous school officials, many are condemning the incident from this weekend as reprehensible. After what many described as a competitive but friendly championship game between two high school, the winning team (and their fans) threw tortillas at the losing team which was from a largely Latino high school.

“Tortillas were flying in the air at our bench and stuff,” Anthony Garibay, an Orange Glen player, told San Diego’s KGTV. “It was a great game between both teams, we both played our hearts out, and it ended in a way it shouldn’t have ended. The players who obviously threw the tortillas and whoever came up with that should obviously be punished, you know, definitely not taken lightly.”

Video shared on social media shows at least two players from Coronado, a predominantly white school, threw tortillas.

“The Trustees of the Coronado Unified School District acknowledge these acts to be egregious, demeaning and disrespectful,” the district said in a letter to Orange Glen. The trustees said they condemned “the racism, classism and colorism which fueled the actions of the perpetrators.”

The reaction on social media was swift with many expressing just how disappointed they were in the winning team.

Saying there is “no place for hate” in their district, Escondido school officials wrote Sunday: “We do not tolerate racism, cultural disrespect, or any other behaviors that demean others. … It is incumbent upon us to create environments in our larger communities where our students feel respected, valued, and safe.”

The California Interscholastic Federation, the state’s governing body for high school sports, said Sunday it was reviewing the incident and “will determine the appropriate next steps.” It added it “prohibits discrimination or any acts that are disrespectful or demeaning toward a member school, student-athlete, or school community.”

Social justice advocate Enrique Morones said he believes if this behavior is not punished, it is bound to happen again.

“Action needs to be taken, and I think the action should be that Coronado should forfeit that game,” Morones said. “These hate acts, they got to be called out. We cannot accept it. These are young people. They obviously have been influenced maybe by their parents or their friends, and we got to call it out.”

Authorities are already taking action and issuing apologies.

On Monday, the Coronado Unified School District Governing Board apologized to the Orange Glen school community and said it will hold a meeting Tuesday to address the incident and consider more action against those involved.

“We have taken swift action and will convene Tuesday, June 22, 2021, for an emergency special meeting of the board at which time we expect to hear the initial results of ongoing investigations and consider additional actions that may need to be taken.”

Coronado Unified School District’s superintendent called it “unsportsmanlike” conduct in an apology the day after the game.

“Members of our community were involved in an altercation and unsportsmanlike conduct which included throwing tortillas at our visitors from Orange Glen,” Superintendent Karl Mueller wrote. “Swift action will be taken to address all those involved, and they will be held accountable.”

Coronado’s head coach JD Laaperi said on Twitter that a community member brought the tortillas and distributed them, and that Coronado High School does not condone the behavior.

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