The winning CIF basketball team of Coronado High School redefined the term “sore winners” Saturday night, when, after defeating the Escondido Orange Glen High School Patriots the Coronado team members starting throwing tortillas at and taunting the Escondido team, which has many Hispanic players.
During the incident, which was recorded on multiple videos, the Coronado coach was heard to say a number of expletives to the Orange Glen coach and players. According to an eye-witness, the head Coronado coach told the OG coach at the end of the game, “Get your ______ loser team off my court.”
On Sunday the CIF issued a statement that it has begun an “immediate review” of the incident. “The CIF,” said the letter, “prohibits discrimination or any acts that are disrespectful or demeaning toward a member school, student-athlete, or school community. We are therefore working with the administration of both high schools in addressing this matter and upon receipt and review of incident reports from both schools, the CIF will determine the appropriate next steps.”
Sunday, the Coronado school board sent a letter of apology to the Escondido Union High School District. In the letter the Coronado board acknowledge, “these acts to be egregious, demeaning, and disrespectful. We fully condemn the racism, classism and colorism which fueled the actions of the perpetrators.”
The board extended an apology to Orange Glen High School athletes, parents, teachers and staff. “We have taken swift action and will convene on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 for an emergency special meeting of the board at which time we expect to hear the initial results of ongoing investigations and consider additional actions that may need to be taken.”
Sunday, the EUHSD school board sent out this letter to the Escondido community. “We have been in contact with the Coronado Unified School District regarding last night’s incident. They send their deep and sincere apology to the Orange Glen community and shared that the individuals who participated in these reprehensible actions do not reflect their school district values. We understand they will be taking swift action to address all those involved and have included their message to our community below.”
The letter continued, “There is no place or hate in EUHSD. We do not tolerate racism, cultural disrespect or any other behaviors that demean others. We remain committed, as a district, to creating safe spaces for all our students. What we do to combat racism and cultural disrespect must extend beyond the classroom and school campus.
The letter concludes, “It is incumbent upon us to create environments in our larger communities where our students feel respected, valued and safe. We are hopeful that all those involved will learn from this incident and move forward with greater awareness and collective commitment to stand against racially insensitive and discriminatory practices.”
The Times-Advocate spoke to a father of one of the Orange Glen players, Mickey Chew, who is himself a coach of multiple high school sports, although not this year. This year he and his family have helped as scorekeepers for the Patriots.
He said that the atmosphere of the championship game was unpleasant during the game, with some vociferous parents and fans doing their best to block OGHS fans from watching the game, and OG officials from filming it. “Coronado fans started off really obnoxious,” Chew said, and said that some of the fans in the stands threw bags of tortillas at the OG team.
Chew said that there may be some history between the two opposing coaches, who have coached traveling basketball teams together. He noted that the two opposing teams had met twice before in close fought games.
Saturday night’s game was also close fought. It went into overtime before ending with a score of 60-57, giving Coronado the championship.
During halftime, said Chew, a Patriot parent went to a Coronado administrator and asked that something be done about the disrespectful hometown crowd, but nothing was done.
“At the end of the game in overtime, as we went over to shake hands, you saw a few of the fans and bench players throwing tortillas in full packs at our athletes and our coaches. While they were throwing the tortillas the head coach of the winning team told our coach to “Get your ______ loser team off my court.”
Chew added, “Administrators were a big part of letting it get out of hand. The administrators enabled things by not doing their jobs.”
As the administrators realized what was going on, recalled Chew, “One of them got on the mic and said that everyone had to leave immediately, with no award presentation. They sent us all out and sent players out different gym doors.”
As people excited the gym, said Chew, they brought in Coronado police, “who immediately harassed the Orange Glen parents. None of the police were on the Coronado parents.”
“The bottom line,” said Chew, “Throwing tortillas at our kids, our parents and our staff. These kids worked hard all year and they didn’t do anything to provoke this. Two uniformed players starting throwing tortillas at us as we politely walked forward to shake their hands.”
Chew said he has no faith that anyone will hold the coaches responsible and advised, “CIF should put their money where their mouth is about good sportsmanship. They need to hold people responsible.” He added, “We all know that CIF wants to sweep it under the rug and make it go away.” He continued, “I’d like to see that people who are responsible be held responsible for their actions. This is grounds for a coach to be fired.”