I want to thank you for your successful basketball season culminating with a thrilling victory in the Championship finals last month. Your success gave pleasure not only to your schoolmates, but everyone in Coronado.
Yet, we are saddened by the turn of events after your championship game. Especially disturbing were the sanctions imposed by the California Interscholastic Foundation (CIF) on you and all Coronado sports. The CIF rushed to judgment for alleged racist conduct by a few adult fans and one or two players.
Your team was composed of minorities (such as Black, and Latino players); the opposing team also had minorities, (such as Latinos). In retrospect, your team tossing celebratory tortillas at the other team does not pass the smell test of racism. Rather, it suggests that the two teams didn’t like each other very much, which has nothing to do with racism. Racism has to be made of sterner stuff. If others like the CIF see the incident differently, the punishment should fit the transgression – which certainly was not the case.
As a high school coach for 20 years in a Division I Conference, on the East Coast, I have never seen such draconian sanctions meted out to any team or school. Such an incident as yours would possibly earn some community service for those most responsible – maybe! But, this is California, the epicenter of rampant and unbridled “political correctness.” Your CIF should have known better and not have fallen into that trap
It seems the CIF caved to pressure from state politicians such as Ben Hueso, Lorena Gonzales, and Nora Vargas. These opportunists jumped on the racist band wagon to gain Latino votes for themselves in upcoming elections and beyond. Those who claim racism where there is none, will set back race relations in Coronado and San Diego several years.
Since the CIF has seen fit to toss the gauntlet at you and Coronado, I am pleased that your school authorities picked it up and appealed the unjust punishments imposed. Should the appeal fall upon deaf ears, you should turn to the law, which is your friend. Hopefully your parents and supporters will find capable lawyers to advance your cause for redemption. Good lawyers know all about class action suits and who to sue for pain, suffering, defamation of character and psychological damage perpetrated on you by the CIF. The CIF who has a duty to protect all children engaged in sports, succumbed and meted out their pernicious and preposterous penalties under political pressure. Small wonder some San Diego parents found a home in Facebook, such as “Citizens against CIF,” to champion their children’s causes.
While you are waiting for some kind of justice to filter down to your teammates, I suggest you order your championship jackets and rings. Your parents and supporters know how to raise money for such. The CIF has no power to strip you of those mementos you so proudly earned.
Always remember you grew up in a Navy town where flags proudly proclaim messages as “Don’t Tread on Me” and “Don’t Give up the Ship” etc. They are not mere historic quotes but promote a way of life one should embrace.
Lastly, I like to think those who have stood up for you thus far will continue to work with and for you, to remove the heavy handed penalties you have suffered. That said, there is the possibility you may not succeed. You may lose this battle, but you will have fought for justice and truth, and there is no higher honor than that.