Coaches investigated for blackface costumes

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SAN DIEGO — Junipero Serra High School football coaches were under investigation after a picture of them in Halloween costumes with blackfaces was posted on Facebook.

Head football coach Brian Basteyns and assistant coach Harold Seeley are seen with their faces painted black to look like members of a Jamaican bobsled team, made famous in the movie “Cool Runnings.”  Coach Chris Herrin is also seen in the picture, but his face was not painted.

The picture was removed from Facebook after concerned parent Sally Smith saw it.  She is calling for Basteyns to be fired.

“I was shocked,” Smith said.  “This is just the tip of the iceberg.  This behavior of dressing in blackface shows disrespect and poor judgment.”

Coaches under fire after blackface costumesSan Diego Unified School Board of Education John Evans learned about the photo Tuesday morning and confirmed an investigation is underway.

“We hold our staff to high standards in the community and the investigation would look more closely into what happened and what the circumstances were,” Evans said.

Students said the coaches were on campus for class and practice during school Tuesday.

Football players said they hope the coaches will be able to stay on playing the field with the team.

“I understand they are held to high expectations, but I think they were just fooling around.  They weren’t making any racial comments. They were just dressing up,” said freshman player Josh Garcia.

“We just took it as a joke, but some took it very seriously, and then some people didn’t think of it at all,” sophmore football player Malcolm Gibson said.


  • meghan everitt

    Omg. You’ve GOT to be kidding me. These poor coaches. Some bored parent, usually a racist, has the nerve too try to bust poor people dressing up for Halloween. Okay, I’ve been a pirate, maid, dead bride, Roman, bumble bee, snow white, the madd hatter…. Ugh the list goes on & on… I’ve never thought, “can’t wait to humiliate pirates!” It’s disgusting that people can’t just have fun anymore. get over it ” woman!” no matter what race you are. OMFG, you want racism too stop, stop adding fuel too the fning fire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dontbe Stoopid

    But it's ok for black people to dress up as white people for Halloween? Stop being so overly sensitive for African Americans.

    • Fred

      They are Jamaican, not African American anyway.

      This is totally insane, the coaches are good people and not racists!

  • dailydebacle

    Unfortunately, that's the way it is these days. Apparently, these guys didn't realize "that's the way it is these days".

  • vic

    Sally please get a life and stop being a negative person. Its Halloween geez would this be an issue 10 years ago?

  • scott

    Really. That is a great costume. Jamaican bobsled team ha ha way to go coaches. I think it is hilarious. Why do we talk about this kind of stuff when we have much bigger problem. Really fox 5 this is headline local news. Quite wasting our time or I will unsubscribe.

  • Danae Wakefield


    This is RIDICULOUS!!! I am white, my daughter is mixed black and white. I have to say what the hell is wrong with our society? Have we lost humanity in every thing? When we should be concerned with our children's grades and overall well being, we take shots at HALLOWEEN COSTUMES!! Clearly…..if there is some common sense, you can tell what these coaches are dressed as. If a black man or woman are wearing white makeup…it wouldn't matter. Why?? BECAUSE IT'S A COSTUME. I have the right mind to dress as Queen Latifah from set it off and put dark coverup on just to prove a point that this is plain stupid to cover in the media….you guys are encouraging ignorance…good on you.

  • Former_teacher_Serra

    I really wish Fox5 would check their sources before reporting ridiculous "stories" such as this one. If you had bothered to check out Sally Smith, you would see that her mission in life seems to be to bring down teachers and the San Diego Unified School District. She has a personal vendetta against Serra High School. She doesn't even have students in the system anymore. THIS is NOT news. The teachers were at a private Halloween party not a school sanctioned event. They were not being racist; they were dressing up for Halloween as the Jamaican Bobsled team, who by the way, was quite inspirational in their own right. THIS "NEWS" is NOT NEWS at ALL. Coach Basteyn's is a great guy who respects his students. (From a former teacher at Serra High School)

  • Costume Supporter

    Why don't we all dress up like a bitter old woman who loves her cats more then life itself and…oh…wait…Sally Smith may get offended and end up as another story on the news. Since when can one persons feelings being hurt become news in the 1st place? And since when are we not allowed to have fun in PRIVATE?
    This message is to you Sally Smith…get over it, find a life, quit fueling the wussification of America.

  • Meg

    Dear Sally Smith,

    Grow up and get a life. It’s pretty obvious you are a hateful and jaded person who more than likely was the one person in school that did not get invited to the fun parties because of your attitude. What a tool of a person are to spy on this mans Facebook page and when you see something you don’t like you then cried “wolf”…For shame Sally, for shame.

  • Really

    Wow, I agree with the person who wrote, some bored person going through Facebook…..wait, what are you thinking for being Facebook friends with your kids teacher/coach? Second point, if you (parent who saw picture on Facebook) was looking at YOUR Facebook at work……YOU SHOULD BE A FIRED!!!!!

  • esco

    Nobody cares but Sally Smith. If it wasn't Halloween it would most likely be an issue, but it IS Halloween, so loosen up, will ya Sally?

  • Get Real

    Sally Smith sounds like a white lady. Didn't they just throw out the Paula Deen lawsuits because the accuser was white and was supposedly not really offended at black racial slurs? Watch your step Sally, legal fees add up.

  • irateiconoclast

    Since these are PUBLIC SECTOR employees (acting in a NON-WORK setting, no less)…

    SDUSD's actions are UNCONSTITUTIONAL–an egregious violation of the coaches' First Amendment rights.

    Last time I checked, there's no exception in the Amendment for "costumes deemed by some to be 'offensive.'''

  • Anonymous

    Someone should get Sally Smith a copy of the movie “Cool Runnings” for Christmas. Great movie based on real people and real events. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Go Jamaican Bobsled Team!

  • Mel

    I’m black and i didnt feel any offense. They are part of our history, a great team. Its nice to keep them alive by portraying them in dress-up. We are making racist issues out of nothing with this. How else could you dress up as them, white faces wouldnt look like them. They wouldn’t have done it in public if they had malicious intentions. When will this stop, our kids need to see its ok to express without being pointed at. Men dress up as women and vice versa. No one screams gender biased issues. I believe they meant well, punishment is supposed to be for doing something wrong. If they intentionally were making fun of then ok, suspend. If it offended someone then those people have to deal with their limited minds. You can’t please everyone, someone will always have their own opinion. If anything an apology for anyone offended should be the most done.

  • Fed up with Wusses

    The Wussification of America is now complete. What I find offensive is the NAACP referring to their consituents as "Colored People". Isn't this offending someone today? Perhaps they should change their name to the NAAAAP so they don't refer to African Americans as "Colored People" anymore.

    I guess we can not call the kettle black anymore either.

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