Windsor girls basketball coach, players upset about controversial flag at basketball game
Windsor girls basketball coach Brittany Huggins expressed concern Tuesday and said others in the Windsor community were upset after Pomperaug High fans brought a controversial Blue Lives Matter flag to a girls basketball state tournament game last Friday between the two schools and waved it in the stands before officials told them to put it away.
Pomperaug beat Windsor 54-45 in the CIAC Class L semifinal game Friday night at New Britain High.
The Pomperaug fans were waving an American flag and a Blue Lives Matter flag, an American flag with a blue stripe, which has been used to show solidarity with police but has more recently been used to show opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“When we first got in there, I was sitting with my assistant coaches and we looked at each other and we were like, ‘Wait, why is that flag even here? What does that flag have to do with high school girls basketball?’” said Huggins, who is Black.
“To be completely honest, Pomperaug’s population is mostly white and if you look at our team, Windsor is a very diverse town, but our team is mostly African-American — so why? We were concerned. After the game, there were a lot of parents on our side who were very upset.”
When he saw the flags before the game, Windsor athletic director Chris Fulton went to CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini and asked him to have them removed.
“The athletic director from Windsor during the introductions came over to speak with me and shared that some of his fans were concerned about particularly the Blue Lives Matter flag being waved during the event,” Lungarini said. “In that conversation, I shared with him that that was correct, the flags should not be there, that I will go over and address it with the Pomperaug administration.
“I did so, asked them to put the flags away. The principal did address it with the students who had the flags.”
Fulton could not be reached for comment.
CIAC rules do not specifically state that flags are banned from state tournament games but that signs displayed must be “positive in nature, reference only the school supported by the sign maker and must be pre-approved by the athletic director of the school referenced in the sign” and that “all spectators will be appropriately attired with their torso completely covered and with no visible degrading or demeaning writings/logos.”
“We are still processing the event,” Windsor principal Breon Parker said in an email. “Right now, our primary focus is the well-being of our Windsor High School student-athletes and school community.”
Neither Pomperaug High principal Paul Jones nor athletic director Ron Plasky responded to requests for comment.
“When I did speak to the Windsor athletic director, we did offer if they were interested in having conversations. If there’s anything we can do to assist, we’re happy to do so,” Lungarini said.
“First of all, it feels like intimidation, that has no place there,” Huggins said. “It creates a weird environment for a 15-year-old kid, why is that even there, what does it mean?
“The girls need to be talked to, an apology, to recognize that as adults, we know that was wrong or it had no place in that setting. We’re not at a political rally. It’s an opinion flag. Does that have any place to be in a setting like that? No. And if you’re waving it on our side, while we’re warming up, that’s intimidation.”