‘I took that really tough’: Basketball coach responds after tortillas thrown at predominately Latino team

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CORONADO, Calif. (KSWB) — A special Coronado Unified School Board meeting will be held Tuesday to decide whether to punish students for throwing tortillas at a regional championship basketball game over the weekend at Coronado high school.

Video obtained by NewsNation affiliate KSWB shows tortillas being thrown at the opposing team, Orange Glen High School from the predominantly Latino Escondido Union School District. It came after Saturday’s game, which Coronado High won, 60-57, when Orange Glen players approached the opposing team for the postgame handshake.

Lizardo Reynoso, an assistant basketball coach at Orange Glen, says the team is still pretty shaken up.

“I thought it was like pita bread or something,” Reynoso said. “(It) just starts like coming towards us and I’m like, ‘What the heck?’ And more and more starts coming towards us and my wife goes, ‘Oh my god, they’re throwing tortillas.’”

Community leaders and social justice advocates spoke out about the behavior, condemning it as being racist. In a letter obtained by KSWB, the Coronado Unified board apologized to the Orange Glen community, acknowledging the act as “egregious, demeaning, and disrespectful.”

“We fully condemn the racism, classism, and colorism which fueled the actions of the perpetrators,” the letter reads.

Enrique Morones, a human rights activist and founder and executive director of Gente Unida, said the Coronado High community needs to be called out for its actions.

“We cannot accept it,” Morones said. “These are young people. They obviously have been influenced, maybe by their parents of their friends.”

Along with the tortillas being thrown, others in attendance were heard shouting profanities at the Orange Glen team. Reynoso said the behavior is both hurtful and racist.

“I know a lot of guys on our team were very offended and very hurt,” Reynoso said. “Me, myself I’m 100% Mexican American. Both of my parents are from Mexico and I took that really tough.”

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Coronado police responded Saturday to help clear people out of the gym after the game. Police say they have identified the man who took the tortillas to the game and said he is not a student. Information about the man or any consequences following Saturday night have not been revealed.

California Interscholastic Federation said Sunday that an investigation was underway.

California Latino Legislative Caucus members including San Diego’s Lorena Gonzalez also reacted to the news, saying, “This goes beyond a teaching moment – it’s a glaring example of racism from students who are old enough to know better.”

“We call on CIF to take strong action to hold the responsible students and school accountable for these hateful, violating acts,” caucus members said in a tweet.

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) agrees, stepping in to make sure the behavior is addressed.

“This shouldn’t be something that should be taken lightly or else it might just happen again,” said Andres Rodriguez of LULAC, “or it might be a domino effect into something more serious because they’re not going to see any type of consequences.”

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