Following a game on Tuesday in which their fans controversially displayed a flag supporting President Donald Trump’s re-election, the Jordan (Minn.) High School boys basketball team has pulled out of an invitational tournament on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The Jordan Hubmen were scheduled to play Patrick Henry High School at the Martin Luther King Showcase on Monday but cancelled the game on Sunday. Jordan School District Superintendent Matthew Helgerson said in an email to the Star Tribune that he didn’t “want our presence at the event to detract from the athletes.”
Jordan High School got into hot water because of the optics surrounding their recent home game against Roosevelt High School. Jordan is a rural, predominantly white school, while Minneapolis-based Roosevelt’s enrollment is 79 percent minority, according to the US News & World Report.
Home fans had planned a patriotic theme night, and several students prominently displayed a “Trump 2020: Keep America Great!” flag on the front row. The move upset Roosevelt head coach Michael Walker, who posted a picture of the crowd on Facebook, questioning what place the flag had at the game.
I coach a predominantly black inner city high school team. We go out to a rural area in Jordan, MN and this is there….
The Minneapolis district has a policy “to not allow political advertising” at games.
Furthering the problem is that Jordan students reportedly chose the patriotic theme because the Roosevelt basketball team is known to stay in the locker room during the national anthem. The Jordan administration was told in advance of the game that the Roosevelt team would not be out on the court for the anthem, and Roosevelt High School has since said in a statement, “we’re coming from a place that recognizes a history of oppression for people of color in the U.S.”
Notably, Patrick Henry High School, whom Jordan was schedule to play on Monday, follows a similar practice. Head coach Jamil Jackson told the Star Tribune that his team also stays in the locker room during the national anthem for road games and plays “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the “Black National Anthem,” at home games instead.
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