Benjamin Turner, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
Days after an incident involving members of the Coronado High School in a California Championship game, teammates throwing tortillas at a visiting school that was largely Latino after their matchup on the court caused the school board to dismiss Coronado basketball coach JD Laaperi on Tuesday night.
Coronado played Orange Glen High School, in a championship game on Saturday. The close game between the two had reportedly several heated moments both on and off the court, building up to Coronado’s 60 – 57 overtime win.
Both of the team’s coaching staff had an angry exchange of words when the game was over.
This all culminated when Laaperi screamed abuse at Orange Glen’s coach.
That’s when the incident happened, reportedly at least two Coronado players started throwing tortillas at the Orange Glen team.
JD Laaperi took to Twitter to talk about the situation, “Unfortunately a community member brought tortillas and distributed them which was unacceptable and racist in nature. I do not condone this behavior. Coronado High School does not condone this behavior and is already taking appropriate action.”
The police have identified and are investigating the person who brought the tortillas, as well as the kids involved in the incident.
The incident and the behavior of both Coronado and Orange Glen players are also being investigated by the Coronado Unified School District, the Escondido Union High School District, and the California Interscholastic Federation.
At the school board meeting on Tuesday night, basketball team captain Wayne McKinney said that he’d apologized to Orange Glen, but he only considered the incident to be “unsportsmanlike” and nothing else.
“It was not based on race or class; it was simply a great game between two teams,” McKinney continued on, “I think many people are making Saturday out to be something it was not.”
Numerous Latino groups like Latino American Political Association, Chicano Federation, La Raza Lawyers, North County Equity and Justice Coalition, NAACP San Diego, and CAIR-San Diego came out publicly stating that this was more than just unsportsmanlike play, it was an act of racism.