Minnesota high school embroiled in Trump banner controversy pulls out of MLK Day invitational

A Minnesota boys high school basketball team embroiled in controversy after its young fans held a President Trump re-election banner during a game pulled out of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day invitational.

Jordan High School decided to pull out of the event, which was set to be hosted by Minneapolis Roosevelt High School on Monday. Jordan was supposed to play Patrick Henry High School.

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“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 a statement to the Minneapolis Star Tribune on 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. 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.”

Jordan students caused an uproar last week after students were seen clad in American flag garb while supporting their team. One coach pointed out that some of the students were holding a “Keep America Great” banner promoting Trump’s re-election. The team was playing Minneapolis Roosevelt.

“I coach a predominantly black inner city high school team,” Michael Zeke Walker wrote in the post. “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?”

According to the Jordan Independent, students chose to wear the American flag garb because Minneapolis Roosevelt players stay in the locker room during the national anthem. Jordan coaches were told this before their game started.

Minneapolis Patrick Henry coach Jamil Jackson told the Star Tribune he was told Jordan officials were worried something might happen to the players. Helgerson denied that sentiment.

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Jackson added that his players also stay in the locker room during the national anthem during road games and plays “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at their home games instead of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”