High school basketball coach fired after players threw tortillas at Latino rivals

<p>Footage of the shocking incident was widely shared on social media</p>

Footage of the shocking incident was widely shared on social media


A high school has fired its head basketball coach after some of his players hurled tortillas at their largely Latino rivals.

Footage of the confrontation has been widely shared on social media, showing at least two students from Coronado High School throwing the Mexican flatbreads towards the Orange Glen High School team.

The latter’s pupils are predominantly from Hispanic backgrounds, prompting accusations of racism and bigotry by members of the other squad.

Coaching staff from both California schools had been seen squabbling after Coronado beat their Orange Glen visitors 60-57 in overtime on Saturday.

Witnesses alleged that Coronado coach JD Laaperi shouted expletives at his Orange Glen counterpart, saying: “Get your kids and get out of here.”

Tweeting just hours after the fallout, Laaperi admitted that a community member had brought tortillas to the game and deplored the incident as “unacceptable and racist in nature.”

Despite his public condemnation of the encounter, the board of the Coronado school district voted unanimously to sack the coach from his role, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

On Sunday, Coronado Unified School District Superintendent Karl Mueller issued a public message of apology, branding the act “reprehensible.”

He later stated that the district’s investigations into what happened could last up to three weeks:

Meanwhile, Wayne McKinney, captain of the Coronado basketball team, said players and coaches had received hate messages and death threats since the event.

On Tuesday, he called the tortilla-throwing unsportsmanlike but not an act of bigotry.

“It was not based on race or class; it was simply a great game between two teams,” McKinney argued.

“I think many people are making Saturday out to be something it was not.”

However, Coronado school trustee Whitney Antrim insisted: “Even if they were not intended as racist, we cannot ignore that our guests, these children who played their hearts out for a championship, felt attacked because they were Hispanic.”

In a community letter, Escondido Union High School District Superintendent Anne Staffieri said the district wants to bring together students from both teams “to face one another, to confront, discuss and grow stronger through honest discussions and sincere apologies.”

Here’s how other authorities responded:

Local police and the California Interscholastic Federation are now conducting investigations into the incident.

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