What some are calling racist signs sparked tensions during a high school football rivalry in Orange County, California on Friday. The controversy made waves on social media over the weekend, in what one of the school’s principals called a sign of the times in the Trump era.
At Friday night’s game between the mostly white Aliso Niguel High School and majority Latino Santa Ana High School, Santa Ana Principal Jeff Bishop was angered at the display of offensive and pro-Trump posters at the game, some of which reportedly read: “We Love White” and “Build the Wall” as well as chants of “USA! USA!” whenever players from Aliso Niguel scored a touchdown.
Bishop took to social media to address the incident and commend his school’s coach and players for staying level-headed through it all.
“What I love about OUR coach is that at no time did he allow this unchristian hate from the Wolverines stands (to) affect HIS team,” Bishop wrote, according to an article in The Los Angeles Times.
During the game, the football coach told Bishop that he was prepared to remove his players from the field if the game took an even nastier turn. Bishop agreed and sought out the principal of Aliso Niguel to tell her he would stop the game if she didn’t get some of her team’s fans under control.
“After talking to the principal and watching her and her assistant principals snag the signs away from these disrespectful and out-of-control students — it seemed to help,” Bishop posted on social media, according to the Los Angeles Times article. “Afterwards, it became more about football, athleticism and a healthy competition.”
The two administrators hugged, Bishop said later, adding that he didn’t want to suggest that a large number of Aliso Niguel students are racist.
Aliso Niguel principal, Deni Christensen, told the told the Orange County Register that her school had a flag theme, which was intended to honor the anniversary of 9/11. In the Register article, Christensen also said her staff removed three signs. One read, “We’re going to Trump you,” while another said, “Trump 2020.” A third sign read, “Bring back Obama,” she said.
Her administrators did not see a “Build the Wall” sign, “but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that there were students in the parking lot with signs we did not see,” Christensen said.