A high school basketball
team in southern California
is under fire after students threw tortillas on the court to celebrate a victory over a predominantly Hispanic school.
Coronado High School defeated Orange Glen High School 60-57 on Saturday night, and immediately afterward, tortillas were thrown at Orange Glen athletes, which Orange Glen assistant coach Lizardo Reynoso described as "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 there’s a lot of racism
and hate going on today, but to top it off with a defeat after working so hard all year, it’s like a slap in the face.”
The incident happened just a week after students at Coronado High School in San Diego held a walk against racism, according to the station.
The altercation is said to have started when the Orange Glen players approached 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 inappropriate words and told us to take our kids and ‘get the F out’ because we were a bunch of losers,” Reynoso told NBC
Soon after, Coronado players were seen throwing tortillas at the Orange Glen team.
, and it was planned,” said Andres Rivera, father of an Orange Glen player.
The male adult who brought the tortillas has been identified, according to Coronado Police
, but the incident is still being investigated.
Stardia attempted to contact 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 returned.
The school's superintendent, Karl Mueller, did issue a statement in which he stated, 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 for dialogue with the orange glen community in an attempt to repair."
According to the Escondido Times-Advocate, the Coronado school board also apologized to the Escondido Union
High School District, which includes Orange Glen High School, for the “egregious, demeaning, and disrespectful” tortilla tossing, and added, “We fully condemn the racism, classism, and colorism that fueled the perpetrators’ actions.”
The CIF's San Diego chapter issued a statement on Sunday stating that it is investigating 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."
The incident was also condemned by San Diego Mayor
Todd Gloria (D), who told Fox 5 San Diego that it demonstrated that "we have a lot of work to do as a community."
“I just hope the folks 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 frankly is not going to set them up for success.”
None of the statements imply that Coronado will have to forfeit the match.
Even so, Orange Glen basketball player Christian Martinez said the Coronado side's actions left him with a bad taste in his mouth.
“For it being my last game, I think it was pretty bad,” Martinez said to 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.”