The abrupt end of a Clatskanie High School basketball game on Tuesday turned a long saga off the pitch after accusations of racism were leveled against members of the Clatskanie women’s team by Catholic team De La North Room.
The game was called off with less than a minute to go after a De La Salle player was sent off for making prolonged contact with a Clatskanie player. The sent off was the Knights’ second of the game after a collision in the second quarter sent a Clatskanie player out of bounds, allowing another De La Salle player to come out early.
After the second expulsion, the referees ended the match out of consideration for the safety of the players. Bob Rose, head of the Lower Columbia Officials Association, confirmed on Wednesday that he had received several reports of egregious extracurricular activity during Tuesday’s game in Clatskanie. However, Rose declined to provide details due to an investigation by the Oregon School Activities Association.
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“It’s an ongoing investigation,” Rose said. “I deal with the State of Oregon and the OSAA. “
Clatskanie athletic director Ryan Tompkins issued a mid-day press release on Wednesday after social media posts by members of the De La Salle North Catholic community attracted increased attention and scrutiny from the incident. The press release noted that Clatskanie Schools are working with De La Salle North Catholic and OSAA on the ongoing investigation into the events of December 14.
“We are deeply disturbed as a school community by the gravity of the accusations, and we are committed to addressing the problem and promoting the continuing causes of equality in our schools,” read the rest of the official statement by Tompkins.
After working hours ended Wednesday, Tompkins told the Daily News that there had been no official update on the status of the investigation, but confirmed that he had been made aware of the allegations of racism by De La Salle coaching staff following Tuesday’s game.
“Concerns were subsequently raised about the racial comments made by the Clatskanie players,” Tompkins said. “If the Clatskanie students behave inappropriately, we look into the matter. “
Tompkins, who was present at the game, noted that it was an intense game with several serious fouls, but added that “in the game there was no indication (of racist behavior.)”
The match was recorded and broadcast live and copies of the film were shared with all interested parties, according to Tompkins.
Attempts by the Daily News to solicit comments from a representative of De La Salle North Catholic were unsuccessful. De La Salle North Catholic President Oscar Leong eventually responded to the Daily News by email, explaining that the school is withholding any comments in light of the ongoing investigation.
“We feel horrible that people are feeling this and if the wrong things are happening,” Tompkins said Wednesday night. “That is why the investigation is ongoing.”
The Daily News will provide updates to this story as new information becomes available.