The superintendent of a rural Minnesota school district cancelled a high school basketball team’s scheduled participation in a Monday tournament because a few student fans recently brought a Trump flag to a game.
Last week, students at Jordan High School showed up to a game with a flag that said: “Trump 2020: Keep America Great.” A coach for the opposing team, Minneapolis Roosevelt, took a picture of the students holding the flag and wrote about it on Facebook.
“I coach a predominantly black inner city high school team. We go out to a rural area in Jordan, MN and this is there. Please explain how and why this is appropriate at a high school basketball game?” Michael Walker wrote.
One person commented on his post to explain that she lent the flag to students to be used as part of a planned USA-themed night.
But on Sunday, Jordan School District Superintendent Matthew Helgerson announced that he wouldn’t be allowing the Jordan High School basketball team to participate in an MLK-day tournament.
“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,” he said. “After discussion with the MLK showcase event coordinator, a decision has been made to pull out of the MLK showcase game on Monday, January 21.”
“We will continue to work with the Minneapolis School District…to move forward in a positive direction,” he added, according to The Star Tribune.
The tournament took place at Minneapolis Patrick Henry, whose coach, Jamil Jackson, said he sympathizes with the Jordan High School athletes, since they “will be thinking the entire day about why they are not playing.”
Both the Minneapolis Roosevelt and Minneapolis Patrick Henry teams have adopted the practice of remaining in the locker room during the national anthem. Jackson said that his team instead plays “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often considered the black national anthem, during home games.
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