Local NAACP calls for new probe into ‘Catholics vs Convicts’ controversy

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Cathedral Catholic High School (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Following Wednesday’s decision by the California Interscholastic Federation to vacate the Coronado High School boys’ basketball team’s Division 4-A regional championship after some fans threw tortillas on the court, the NAACP San Diego Branch is calling on the CIF to reopen investigations into a similar incident earlier this year.

Orange Glen’s predominantly Latino team lost, 60-57, in overtime to largely white Coronado High June 19 at Coronado High School some members of the crowd threw tortillas at Orange Glen players. The CIF stripped Coronado’s title this week.

“A very similar incident occurred not long ago involving Cathedral Catholic High School, in which Cathedral Catholic football players wore T- shirts with “Catholics vs Convicts III” and posted images of players wearing these shirts on social media,” said Francine Maxwell, president of the NAACP San Diego Branch. “The racist message conveyed by the Cathedral Catholic player was as offensive as the tortilla incident at Coronado High School.”

On the day Cathedral Catholic and Lincoln High played each other in April, players and coaches at Lincoln High learned a Cathedral player for the private school shared social media posts showing someone wearing a shirt that read “Catholics vs. Convicts III.” Another post showed Cathedral players making a gang sign.

The San Diego City Conference placed Cathedral Catholic High’s football coach on a two-game suspension and placed the team on probation for two years after investigating two social media posts. Maxwell is calling on the CIF to reopen an investigation into the incident and apply stricter sanctions.

The Cathedral Catholic shirts reference a controversial slogan and shirt made by fans of Notre Dame University before they played powerhouse rivals University of Miami in 1988.

“We seek equity for the Lincoln community by requesting that the CIF and (San Diego City) Conference reconsider the sanctions for Cathedral Catholic High School in light of the appropriate sanctions imposed on Coronado High School,” Maxwell said.

As a result of the tortilla-throwing event, Coronado High School was placed on probation through the end of the 2024 school year, the Islanders boys’ basketball team will not host postseason contests at the section, regional or state levels through the 2023 school year and all other teams in the Coronado High School athletic program will not host postseason contests at the section, regional or state levels until all Coronado administrators, athletic director, coaches and players complete a sportsmanship workshop which includes a component of racial/cultural sensitivity training and completion of game management training for all Coronado High School administrators and athletic directors.

The administration of Coronado High has also been “strongly encouraged” to engage with the administration at Orange Glen High School to develop a positive relationship between the two school communities.

Maxwell and the local NAACP called on the CIF to suspend Cathedral High School from CIF playoffs, suspend the players involved for the upcoming season and require said players to do community service for the Lincoln community.

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