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Individual Comes Forward Claiming ‘I Brought The Tortillas To The Game’

 June 24, 2021 at 10:55 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 A championship San Diego county high school basketball game turned tortilla hurling fracas continues to make national headlines. The game Saturday was a victory for Cornetto high school over Escondido's orange, Glen. It's what happened after the game that continues to dumbfound observers. Tortillas were hurled by some Cornado players at their opponents. There was an altercation on the court and Cornado is now terminated. Coach reportedly yelled expletives at orange Glen's coach for the team to leave unsportsmanlike, definitely racist. Yes. Racist intent. Well, that's still being debated among some here with some background on the story is San Diego high school basketball expert and longtime Southern California journalist Aaron Bergen. Aaron welcome. Good afternoon. A Granada resident has come forward to claim responsibility for bringing the tortillas to the game and says that it wasn't intended to be racist. How is this latest development being received? Speaker 2: 01:03 It really depends on the audience that you talk to. A lot of people have panned, uh, the interview that he gave with several news outlets. Um, specifically talking about the intent versus impact. Uh, when we talk about the tortilla throwing, while it might not be been his intent, um, to be racist in any way, that's what he's claiming, uh, the impact both visually and obviously from a, um, from a very, you know, just cultural perspective, uh, begs otherwise. And I think that there's a large contingent of people that just aren't sold that this wasn't a racist incident now from the Cornetto bans and family's perspective, they've all kind of taken hold of this interview and really kind of, uh, fought back or tried to fight back against the allegations of racist conduct. Uh, partly because Luke Sarno, the person who, uh, brought the tortillas is half Hispanic and they've pointed to this and saying, well, if he's half Hispanic, how could this be a racist incident? Uh, so as you mentioned, there's still a lot of debate about, uh, the intent and also the impact as well as, um, where to move from here. Hmm. Speaker 1: 02:26 You watched the game as it happened and tweeted about the tortillas being thrown that night. What's your reaction to what happened following Speaker 3: 02:33 The game? Well, and Speaker 2: 02:35 In a word, it was unacceptable, uh, as a basketball observer in San Diego, I've attended about 40 championship games, close to 50 and over 500 basketball contest. And this rivals anything that I've seen at the end of a game. And I think what makes it, um, specifically egregious is that the behavior that we're talking about was instigated by the winning team. Um, these were the, they had won a championship. They had won their second championship and as many weeks, and when we talk about high school basketball in California, the California interscholastic Federation, CIF has as its primary mantra pursuing the three with honor. Uh, there was nothing honorable about the display that occurred after the victory Speaker 1: 03:28 Coronado school board fired their coach over this. What do you make of his conduct on the court that night and the responsibility he bears for? Speaker 3: 03:37 What happened? Now? Let me preface Speaker 2: 03:40 My remarks by saying that I've known JD Lee Perry for nine years now. Uh, I know him not to be a racist and most of the time JD is a very even keeled, good coach and instructor of men. But in the moment that he turned to the orange Glen, uh, staff and players and scream the expletives and told them to get out of the gym and reportedly called them losers, everything that occurred after that, the fracas that occurred near the scores table, um, the large group of people that converged on one another. And then of course the tortilla throwing incident, while I'm not going to say that he caused the tortilla incident, he definitely caused the environment that maybe, um, led people to believe that it would be okay. I know that there's been a lot of discussion about whether the tortillas were part of a celebration, but if you look at the tape, the tortillas were thrown during the altercation. Speaker 2: 04:48 I don't know if you're, if they're then saying that they were celebrating the altercation, but it really does kind of fly in the face of what the counter-argument has been, but we're never the less, uh, JDS behavior sparked the incident that led to the conditions that led to this really unsightly incident. And if you listen to the board members, uh, remarks at the Monday emergency board meeting, they did make clear that the profanity was also part of the problem. It wasn't just the tortilla fro-ing, it was the coach's behavior. And they didn't say specifically the coach, but they mentioned and called out several times the profanity towards the visiting team. And I don't think, I don't think they had much of a choice, but to let JD go. And that's unfortunate given that his, his track record up until that point, he had been a coach of, of good esteem in the county, you know, and Speaker 1: 05:54 There was a foul committed at a previous game. The teams that you say could explain what appears to be bad blood between the coaching staffs. What can you tell us about that? So orange Speaker 2: 06:04 Glen and Cornado had basically been the two best teams in San Diego's division two all year. And the champion, the CIF section championship game before was also tightly contested. It was a one point game in the fourth quarter, uh, Cornetto Starguard Wayne McKinney. Who's headed to the university of San Diego, had a breakaway layup and, uh, one of orange Glen's players committed a very hard foul. It was deemed an intentional foul by the referees, and it sparked the confrontation between both coaching steps. Uh, they had to be separated by CIS commissioner, which is very rare in a championship game. And I think that there was some carry over into the, uh, state regional championship game, uh, given the fact that from all from the reports I've received from both sides, neither coaching staff approached, um, the other before the game, which is highly unusual. There were no well-wishes going into this game. So the temperature of the game already was elevated. Speaker 1: 07:10 Yeah, it sounds like they went in with high tensions. Um, the caliph, the California interscholastic Federation, which oversees high school sports in the state has yet to weigh in on this incident. Uh, what consequences could Coronado high school's team face as a result of what happened, uh, myriad. Speaker 2: 07:28 And before we even get to the CIF level, we've already had at least one school district say that if Cornell's response to this incident does not meet their expectations of what it should be. They will not participate in any games against Cornado. That was the Sweetwater union high school district, which is the second largest school district in San Diego. And from a sports perspective, perhaps its most influential given that two CIF commissioners, the last UCF commissioners have come from a Sweetwater district now from CIS perspective locally. And from the state perspective, there's, uh, there are numerous things that they could do to punish Coronado. Uh, they could strip corn auto of its section and state regional championships, uh, looking forward to next season. They could, uh, every coach has given a certain amount of points to create their non-league schedule. That those are games that are not against league opponents. They could reduce or eliminate, uh, the points. So the Coronado could not have a non-league schedule and as well as ban them from the post season. So there are, there are number of things that are still on the table and CIF has taken a wait and see approach to see what Cornado unified, uh, does as well as the other concurrent investigations by, uh, Cornetto police department and as well as Escondido union high school district, Speaker 1: 09:01 I've been speaking to San Diego high school basketball expert, Aaron Bergen. He is founder of full-time hoops and NCAA scouting service. Aaron, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you very much. And a special meeting will be held tonight at 5 45 at the Escondido school district office to address this incident. Speaker 4: 09:28 [inaudible].

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Responding to outrage over tortillas being flung at a largely Latino team after it lost a championship basketball game at Coronado High School, the visiting team's school board will take up a resolution denouncing racism Thursday.
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