A high school basketball team from Minnesota has pulled out of a basketball showcase on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend after a controversy sparked when its fans unveiled a “Trump 2020” flag during a game against a predominantly black school.
The incident happened this week when fans from Jordan High School unveiled the flag during a game against Minneapolis Roosevelt High School. As the New York Post noted, the incident drew national attention when a coach from the opposing team posted a picture and questioned whether there was a racial motive against the team of mostly black players.
“Please explain how and why this is appropriate at a high school basketball game?” wrote coach Michael Walker in a post on Facebook.
“I coach a predominantly black inner city high school team,” he added. “We go out to a rural area in Jordan, MN and this is there.”
The post was then shared on social media, where it gained viral attention and led to condemnation for the district that allowed students to make the controversial display. Adding to the controversy is the fact that players on Roosevelt remain in the locker room during the national anthem as a team protest.
I coach a predominantly black inner city team. We go to a rural area in Jordan, MN and this is there. Please explain how & why this is appropriate at a high school basketball game?#coach #basketball #sports #blackcounselor #king #knowledgeisking #blackboysmatter #blackandproud pic.twitter.com/0ne9Y7ors6— Critical Questioning (@CQ_Consulting17) January 16, 2019
Administrators from the Jordan School District said they are investigating and added that political displays are not supposed to be allowed at high school athletic events.
The incident came just days after another Minnesota high school sparked a racial controversy. As NBC News reported, two students at Minnetonka High School published a video proposal for the Valentine’s Day dance in which they gave Nazi salutes and made reference to Hitler, leading to an apology from the school district.
The incident at Jordan High School has been defended by some of those involved. The mother who owned the “Trump 2020” flag said there was no racist intent, just a group of students showing their support for the president.
“They don’t have a racist bone in their body,” said Bridget Kahn.
The district has now pulled the team from a planned “MLK Showcase” event on Monday, saying they believe the school’s presence would detract from the event.
“After discussion with the MLK Showcase event coordinator, a decision has been made to pull out,” said superintendent Matt Helgerson. “Given recent events, we believe the participation of our team in the event will detract from the hard work of the athletes and the upbeat focus of the MLK Showcase…We will continue to work with the Minneapolis School District … to move forward in a positive direction.”