Mendocino girls team to protest at Fort Bragg tournament

Basketball team was excluded from competition after girls refused to stop wearing T-shirts reading “I Can’t Breathe” during warm-ups.|

The high school basketball team barred from a Fort Bragg tournament after wearing T-shirts protesting the death of Eric Garner are planning a rally to protest the decision Monday morning.

Members of the Mendocino High School girls basketball team, whose invitation to the tournament was withdrawn ?because they refused to stop wearing T-shirts reading “I Can’t Breathe” during warm-ups, will meet outside Fort Bragg High School at 10:15 a.m.

The Mendocino boys team is playing in the tournament.

A press release announcing the rally characterized it as a peaceful exercise of free speech rights and to raise awareness about racism and police brutality.

The controversy has thrust the coastal communities into the national conversation over the deaths of black men at the hands of law enforcement. Garner is the New York man who died after a police officer put him in a choke-hold.

Fort Bragg High School Principal Rebbecca Walker said the decision to rescind the invitation was made for safety reasons. Players who could not set aside their “personal beliefs about a situation that occurred on the other side of our country” would not be allowed to participate, she said.

You can reach Staff ?Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or On Twitter @srcitybeat.

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