Q. Did you have any type of experience in this type of tortilla throwing celebration or tradition in the past?
A. I had seen it, I was aware of it, but the games that I attended, they did not occur. But I was aware that it happened, at UCSB, it’s gone on at soccer games, and yeah, that was part of their celebration, bringing the tortillas. There was no ill-intent trying to sneak them in. It was about celebrating the win, and throwing them all up in celebration.
Q. Did you give them to the cheerleaders, and the basketball players and the fans? Who did you distribute the tortillas to?
A. I gave them to one of the bench players, and I gave them to the cheerleaders, and as I did this, I was very explicit in making sure they knew this was completely for celebratory purposes. This was never to be seen as having any racial intent whatsoever. The cheerleaders were concerned about if we could make sure the tortillas were cleaned up afterwards, and I said, oh yes, definitely.
(It is a tradition at UCSB, and it's an occasional problem for the university because fans throw tortillas, and cost their team technical fouls.) Here's what the high school team's coach (who has been fired) said,
Unfortunately a community member brought tortillas and distributed them which was unacceptable and racist in nature. I do not condone this behavior. Coronado High School does not condone this behavior and is already taking appropriate action.
And the team captain:
"the throwing of the tortillas during the scuffle after the game was unsportsmanlike and inexcusable. On behalf of the team, we apologize for that action. I think many people are making Saturday out to be something that it was not."