The basketball game scheduled for Friday night between Taft High School and Archbishop Moeller High School was postponed due to a Black Lives Matter protest occurring blocks away from Taft at Cincinnati police headquarters.
Moeller Director of Communications Teresa Meyer confirmed Monday that the game was canceled after the school spoke with police and learned of “a potentially large gathering that would occur at Cincinnati police … headquarters” in West End.
Meyer said the decision to postpone the game was a logistical matter, not a decision made because the school feared the protest was a threat to student safety.
She cited parking issues and other concerns with moving large groups of athletes and fans in and out of the area.
“It was a mutual agreement between both head coaches to postpone the game,” Meyer said.
Cincinnati Public Schools officials disagree that the last-minute decision was mutual.
“The Moeller principal called to cancel on Friday. Taft fully intended to play the game,” said Janet Walsh, CPS director of public affairs. “The notion of canceling did not come from Taft or Cincinnati Public Schools.”
Cincinnati police spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy also confirmed that police did not encourage either school to postpone the game.
“It’s my understanding that it was a decision made by the school,” Hardy said.
Brian Taylor with Black Lives Matter suggested that instead of canceling the game, school officials could have told their students about the protest.
“What they could have or should have done is educate their students about our protest against vigilantes,” Taylor said. “When I was in high school, that’s something I would have liked to know about.”
The Black Lives Matter rally was announced Wednesday in response to the protests and violence in Minneapolis and Chicago.
Friday night, about 60 protesters marched through the Over-the-Rhine, West End and Downtown. No arrests were reported for violent behavior. At least one citation was issued to a protester for failing to comply officers’ demands to stay on the sidewalk.
Meyer said the Moeller team is looking forward to coming back to Taft once the game is rescheduled. She said a new date for the contest should be announced by the end of the week.