“USA! USA!” Chants At San Antonio High School Game Lead to Complaints and Apologies

Mar 10, 2012
4:41 PM

As reported by The Los Angeles Times and other outlets, chants of "USA! USA!" directed at a predominantly Latino high school basketball team from San Antonio led to a formal complaint by the school and an apology from the superintendent of Alamo Heights, whose fans had initiated the chant. This is what the Times reported:

Fans of Alamo Heights, a wealthy San Antonio school district, chanted "USA!" during the regional basketball championship trophy presentation in the school's Littleton Gym on Saturday, according to video posted by KENS5. The predominantly white Alamo Heights team had defeated San Antonio's Thomas A. Edison High School, a mostly Latino team, by 50-39 Friday night, earning its first spot in the state tournament since 1991, the station reported.

The loss ended a breakthrough season for Edison, which had advanced to the regional tournament for the first time in 50 years.

Video of the taunting has sparked heated debate in San Antonio, a predominantly Latino city about 150 miles north of the Mexico border, with Edison students who attended Saturday's game saying they were shocked by the chanting.

"It just rubbed us the wrong way," Forest Lebaron, an Edison senior, told KSAT-TV.

Edison officials were also upset.

"Our kids deserve better than hearing what they did after the game from those Alamo Heights students, even if it was just for a few seconds," Gil Garza, athletic director for Edison's San Antonio Independent School District, told KENS5. "These students also rained on their own team's celebration."

Alamo Heights coach Andrew Brewer acted quickly to stop the chanting, Garza said, but that wasn't enough for Edison officials. They filed an official complaint about the incident with the University Interscholastic League, which oversees Texas public high school extracurricular activities.

"Our kids try real hard and work extra hard to get to the regional tournament, and then we have to worry about them being subjected to this kind of insensitivity," Garza told KENS5. "To be attacked about your ethnicity and being made to feel that you don't belong in this country is terrible. Why can't people just applaud our kids? It just gets old and I'm sick of it. Once again, we're on pins and needles wondering what's going to happen."

The Alamo Heights School District has 10 days to respond to the complaint. The district's superintendent has already apologized for the chanting.

The following video from KSAT12 in San Antonio provides a detailed report.

In the meantime, one of KSAT 12's Facebook pages includes many comments defending Alamo Heights: