Mostly Black HS Basketball Team Walks Out On MLK Day Game Over Racist Gesture


Last week, a Donald Trump reelection flag was displayed by fans of the Jordan High School basketball team during its game against visiting Minneapolis Roosevelt. The display caused quite a controversy within the state of Minnesota.

On Monday, it was announced that the Jordan team pulled out of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day invitational basketball event being hosted by Minneapolis Roosevelt. The game to be played with Minneapolis Patrick Henry was scheduled for 5:00 p.m.

Jordan School District Superintendent Matthew Helgerson said in an e-mailed statement Sunday:

‘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.

‘After discussion with the MLK Showcase event coordinator, a decision has been made to pull out of the MLK Showcase game on Monday, January 21st. We do not want our presence at the event to detract from the athletes. We will continue to work with the Minneapolis School District … to move forward in a positive direction.’

Although he called it “totally unjustifiable,” Henry Coach Jamil Jackson said that Jordan was fearful about what might happen to the players if they came to Roosevelt to play. In response though, Helgerson said:
‘Fear was not our reason.’
According to the StarTribune:

‘On Wednesday, Roosevelt coach Michael Walker questioned why young fans at his team’s road game Tuesday in Jordan prominently displayed a flag promoting Trump re-election during the game.

‘Walker posted on Facebook a photograph of fans on the Jordan side of the gym with the flag draped over the legs of four front-row spectators. The message read: Trump 2020 Keep America Great!’
Walker wrote on his Facebook post:
‘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?’
Bridget Kahn commented on Walker’s Facebook posting saying that the flag belonged to her and was going to be used as part of a USA theme night. Later she told the Star Tribune:
‘I don’t see anything wrong with that.’
The Star Tribune reported:
‘Jackson said he feels badly for the Jordan players, who “will be thinking the entire day,” when the slain civil rights leader is remembered, “about why they are not playing and every aspect of that, from black and white issues to basketball issues.”‘
The Roosevelt team has also taken heat for its practice of remaining in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem. On Friday, the Roosevelt team issued a statement, saying:
‘We’re coming from a place that recognizes a history of oppression for people of color in the U.S.’

According to the Star Tribune:
‘Jackson said his team also remains in the locker room during the national anthem for road games but is courtside for home games, where “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” treated as the black national anthem, is played instead.’
Featured image is a screenshot from YouTube