The fallout is continuing from last week's dispute over a Donald Trump re-election flag being displayed by fans of the Jordan High School boys basketball team during its game against visiting Minneapolis Roosevelt.
Jordan has pulled out of an invitational basketball event scheduled for Monday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — being hosted by Minneapolis Roosevelt. Jordan was to have played Minneapolis Patrick Henry at 5 p.m.
"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," Jordan School District Superintendent Matthew Helgerson said in an e-mailed statement Sunday.
"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," the statement said. "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."
Henry coach Jamil Jackson said event organizers had been told Jordan was fearful something might happen to the players if they came to Roosevelt to play, calling that "totally unjustifiable." In response to that, Helgerson said: "Fear was not our reason."
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!
"I coach a predominantly black inner city high school team," Walker wrote on his Facebook posting. "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 the Roosevelt coach's Facebook posting and wrote that the flag belonged to her and was used by students as part of a long-planned USA theme night. She later told the Star Tribune, "I don't see anything wrong with that."
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."
Since last week's dust-up over the Trump flag, the Roosevelt team has taken heat for its practice of remaining in the locker room during the pregame playing of the national anthem. In a statement issued Friday, the Roosevelt team said "we're coming from a place that recognizes a history of oppression for people of color in the U.S."
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.