After taking their lead from NBA and collegiate players donning “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during recent pregame warmups, the boys and girls basketball teams of Mendocino High School (CA) have been disinvited from a holiday tournament in Fort Bragg, CA, with a Monday contest versus Capuchnio (San Bruno) cancelled. From the Nation’s Dave Zirin :
Fort Bragg high school (an institution with a black population of 1%) told Mendocino that they would not be allowed to play unless every player on the boy’s team and girls team refused to wear the shirts. The boys team was reinstated after every player but one agreed to this condition. That one very brave holdout is staying at home. As for the girl’s team, only a couple said that they would even consider not wearing the shirts with almost the entire team standing strong. They will not be fielding a team.
Principal Rebecca Walker (above) of Fort Bragg issued a written statement on Friday explaining their position where she said, “To protect the safety and well-being of all tournament participants it is necessary to ensure that all political statements and or protests are kept away from this tournament… We are a small school district that simply does not have the resources to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff, students and guests at the tournament should someone get upset and choose to act out.”
Keep in mind that up until now, there have been no reported incidents before any game, high school college or professional, in response to the players wearing the shirts.