High school basketball coach fired after racist tortilla incident

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A high school basketball coach in California was fired just three days after winning a state championship in wake of a racist tortilla throwing incident that took place at the title game.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Coronado Unified School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to relieve veteran Coronado High School head coach JD Laaperi of his duties. Coronado defeated Orange Glen High School in the CIF Division 4-A championship when at least two people threw tortillas at the team from Orange Glen.

Orange Glen High School features a prominent latino population.

Laaperi took to social media after the game to address the incident, tweeting “”Unfortunately a community member brought tortillas and distributed them which was unacceptable and racist in nature. …. I do not condone this behavior. Coronado High School does not condone this behavior and is already taking appropriate action.”

Coronado’s school board ultimately decided removing Laaperi from his position as head basketball coach was among the action that needed to be taken. Laaperi reportedly cursed at an Orange Glen coach after the game, which played a role in his firing.

Coronado team captain Wayne McKinney said at Tuesday’s board meeting that his team did not know people brought tortillas to the game and those who did had no ties with the team. McKinney also told the Union-Tribune that Coronado players and coaches had been receiving death threats since the incident.

“It was not based on race or class; it was simply a great game between two teams,” McKinney said. “I think many people are making Saturday out to be something it was not.”

The CIF released a statement last weekend addressing the incident, stating “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.”

In 12 years as Coronado’s head coach, Laaperi posted a 215-121 record, including a 24-5 mark in this year’s COVID-19 pandemic-shortened season.

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