Donald Trump is long gone from his Iowa disappointment in the state’s Republican caucus, but his name lingers on in a more sinister way; now it’s being used to demean teams that feature bona fide racial diversity.
As reported by Iowa NBC affiliate WHO, among other outlets, the Perry boys basketball team was targeted by fans of opposing Dallas Center-Grimes because of the team’s mixed ethnic background; Perry’s team features players of white, African American, Latino and Native American descent, reflecting the school’s 48 percent minority population while Dallas Center-Grimes’ roster is entirely white, like much of the state. Among the chants used by the Dallas Center-Grimes fans were “Trump, Trump, Trump” and “USA, USA.” as well as actual details from Trump’s proposed immigration plans.
“It’s honestly disrespectful,” Perry player Shammond Ivory told WHO. “That’s how I take it. I hear it during the game, on and off the court. Everywhere I go.
“As soon as I hear something like that, it just triggers me and it makes me strive for more and to do it for my team, coaches and my community. … It’s not about color. We are all equal.”
Dallas Center-Grimes administrators confirmed that the reported chants did take place at Monday’s game and said that the chants have been dealt with at the school. School officials declined to discuss any disciplinary measures taken against the students participating in the chant, citing student privacy.
To their credit, the Perry players and entire program has risen above the incident since it occurred. As noted by our Gannett friends at the Des Moines Register, Perry got its comeuppance on the court with a 57-50 victory in a first round playoff game, ending Dallas Center-Grimes’ season.
Watson said the Trump chants came from 10 to 15 individuals of the 100- to 120-member student section. He estimated the chant was yelled “four or five times.”
“Whenever anything turns personal or offensive, it’s out of line, and this is definitely out of line,” Dallas Center-Grimes activities director Steve Watson told the Register. “Our kids know that. They knew it before. They chose to do it.
“Our goal in every event is that our kids will support our own kids in a positive way. No kid that puts a basketball uniform on deserves to go out on the court and be personally attacked or offended. I talked to some of our kids this morning, asking, ‘How do we move on?’ It’ll be a long educational process for us. Unfortunately, but probably fortunately, our basketball season is over. Generally, we need to be more respectful.”
Iowa’s prep programs follow “Conduct Counts,” which encourages spectators to stay positive and avoid disrespectful conduct that could result in warnings or an ejection from the event.
The policy’s posters are found in gyms statewide and their message will be reinforced after Monday’s incident.
“We emphasize cheering for and not against,” Lipovac said, “but we all face challenges when it comes to sportsmanship. You see it at all levels and for some sports, it’s more of a challenge than others.”
Contributing: Des Moines Register