SAN DIEGO – Dozens of protesters took to the streets of Coronado Saturday calling for punishments for the Coronado High School Basketball team in response to the controversial tortilla throwing incident.
Video of last weekend’s incident shows tortillas being thrown at Orange Glen High School’s basketball team, which is predominantly Latino, following their championship game loss against Coronado High.
“You’re telling me that kids transferring from school to school are out half a season, a whole season, but kids that are racist and electing to do racist things have nothing,” said protester Tasha Williamson.
The protesters who marched on Saturday said the Coronado squad should be stripped of the CIF Championship title. The demonstration sparked heated exchanges between some of the protesters and Coronado residents.
“I wasn’t at the game but I can tell you that I would be heartbroken myself if I played a hard game, and played the game, and did the best job I possibly can, and at the end somebody did something to disrespect everything that happened in that gymnasium and now the title is stripped from me, that should not happen,” said Coronado resident Chuck Gossage.
Gossage says he agrees that the incident is disgraceful, but doesn’t believe the Coronado squad should lose its title.
The mother of an Orange Glen player, Carliss Stegall, joined Saturday’s march, and said last weekend’s incident didn’t seem like a celebratory action, as it was described by the man who took the tortillas to the game.
“This being a celebration, or celebratory thing, or act … if you want to throw confetti then throw confetti. And if you’re throwing confetti, you only throw it in the air, you don’t literally launch it at people,” said Stegall.
Coronado alumnus Luke Serna told FOX 5 last week that he took the tortillas to the game because he wanted to carry on a celebratory tradition from UC Santa Barbara, which he also attended. He has denied that the act had a racist component.
Some protesters argue the tradition itself is rooted in racism, and that adults at the game should have been more racially sensitive.
“You as an adult have to think, you know what these are Latino people, these are Hispanic people, this is maybe a little bit offensive so we probably shouldn’t do that,” said Stegall.
Coronado Unified School District Superintendent Karl Mueller wrote to the CIF and said the district’s investigation shows there was regrettable behavior from both teams, and there’s no evidence to date that shows the Coronado team should forfeit the game.
The CIF says it is in the process of wrapping up its investigation.
San Diego County’s Human Relations Commission will hold a special meeting on Monday in response to the tortilla-throwing incident.