Yesterday, Truth Revolt published a story about a California high school basketball team that would not be allowed to participate in tournament when it was discovered the players planned to wear t-shirts that read ‘I Can’t Breathe.”
Now, the California School District has reversed that decision and will allow the players to wear the shirts as long as they do not cause any problems, according to lawyers.
With backing from school officials, the athletic director at Fort Bragg High School, previously told the boys and girls teams from Mendocino High School they could not play in the three-day event if they wore the shirts inspired by the last words of a New York man who died after an officer put him in a chokehold.
Karen Boyd, a First Amendment lawyer who represents one of the players, said the reversal by the Fort Bragg School District came just moments before she intended to file a federal court motion arguing that barring the shirts violated the free speech rights of student athletes.
“This is always my preference, if we can get things worked out without a lot of court stuff,” the lawyer said.
The school district’s lawyer, Patrick Wilson said the school did not want an expensive legal battle, but was concerned the shirts could cause a disruption. “The concern is, you are in a packed auditorium, this is a polarizing issue and it’s about something that happened in New York,” Wilson said. “I think it’s fine for people to protest about it, but emotions are still raw in that area.”