The girl’s basketball team at Narbonne High School, located in Los Angeles, recently won a playoff game only to have it taken away because of a violation of league rules. While technically a violation, Narbonne High School was wearing pink uniforms to support breast cancer research. They were reinstated after officials reviewed an appeal.
Narbonne came into the playoffs as the top seed and wore white uniforms with pink letters and numbers. The team was supporting the "Play 4 Kay" campaign run by the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Kay Yow was the women’s basketball coach at North Carolina State.
Victoria Saunders, Narbonne’s coach, told the Daily Breeze: “Everybody’s baffled, it just doesn’t make sense. If you’re going to punish someone, punish me. I’ll take it. Tell me I can’t coach the game, but don’t take it away from the girls.”
The team’s colors are officially green and gold. Teams can wear different colors with permission from the league. However, Sanders said that the team wore the same pink uniforms in the first round and were not reprimanded.
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Latecia Smith, an all-city guard, said: “At first I thought it was a joke, but it’s completely devastating to have it end like this. The punishment seems so harsh when it’s not the players’ fault. If we had known, we would have never disregarded the rules.”
John Aguirre, the league commissioner, said that Narbonne was already on probation for having an ineligible player in last year’s playoffs, which affected his decision.
He told the Los Angeles Times: “Breast cancer awareness is in October, and there's a process for people to request color change. If they're going to blatantly disregard these rules and regulations, they're going to affect kids."
According to the Los Angeles Times, Narbonne was reinstated after an appeal. Coach Saunders has been banned from coaching during the playoffs and the team will not be allowed to host playoff games next year.
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Aguirre did not comment on whether officials noticed the infraction or if another team reported it.