A regional CIF championship high school basketball game between Coronado and Escondido ended with the winning team throwing tortillas at its opponents in an act that is being called racist.
It was a tense game Saturday as Coronado High School and Orange Glen Highschool of Escondido took the court in a basketball game for the regional CIF championship.
“It was like a crowded environment, a lot of energy the entire time,” said Axel Rivera, a sophomore player at Orange Glen High School.
Coronado High School took the win by just 3 points — 60-57 — but instead of celebrating in good fashion, the team turned the celebration into what is now being called an act of racism.
Rivera said it all started as the Orange Glen boys were walking over to the Coronado boys for the traditional post-game handshake.
“The head coach and the assistant coach came over to our bench and kind of said some words that were inappropriate and told us that we should take our kids and ‘get the F out’ because we were a bunch of losers,” said Lizardo Reynoso, assistant coach for Orange Glen High School.
Shortly after, some of the players were seen throwing tortillas at the Orange Glen team.
“It’s racist and it was planned,” said Andres Rivera, father of Orange Glen player.
“For it being my last game, I think it was pretty bad,” said Christian Martinez. “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.”
Coronado Unified High School’s Superintendent released a statement about the incident. It reads, in part:
“Swift action will be taken to address all those involved, and they will be held accountable. it is our hope to create opportunities to dialogue with the orange glen community in an attempt to repair.”
CIF also released a statement, reading in part:
“The CIF prohibits discrimination or any acts that are disrespectful or demeaning toward a member school, student-athlete, or school community…Upon receipt and review of incident reports from both schools, the CIF will determine the appropriate next steps.”
While the investigation is underway parents, students and coaches hope the Coronado High School basketball team realizes that what they did was unacceptable.
“They’ve worked hard all year, and so has Coronado, and to be overshadowed by some stupidity, it hurts,” said Reynoso.
NBC 7 reached out to Coronado Unified School District regarding the basketball assistant coach’s alleged involvement in the verbal scuffle before the tortillas were thrown, as that was not addressed in the district’s statement. NBC 7 has not yet heard back from the district about that.
The district did announce it would hold an emergency board meeting on Tuesday to discuss necessary actions.
According to Coronado Police, the male adult who brought the tortillas has been identified but the rest of the incident remains under investigation.