Lincoln High announced Tuesday it will not play Friday’s Western League football game with Cathedral Catholic as scheduled.
San Diego Section Commissioner Joe Heinz said he was still gathering information and would have a statement later in the day. It was not immediately clear whether the game, which was to played at Lincoln, would be a forfeit or a no contest.
A statement from David Dunn, Lincoln’s head football coach, and signed by Co-Principals Melissa Agudelo and Stephanie Brown, Vice Principal for Athletics Launa Romanowsky and Athletic Director David Fai, referenced a racial incident between the two schools in April and read in part:
“A concern shared by many members of our community urged that shielding our student athletes from further abuse and discrimination is the only course of action. Many others also provided statements and gestures in support. Collectively, we agreed to show our student-athletes how special they are to us and how worthy they are of dignity and respect.
“By doing so, we also maintained the firm consensus, not to play in the upcoming games with Cathedral Catholic.”
In an interview with the Union-Tribune, Dunn said playing right now “is not the right thing to do because the community is in an uproar.”
Before the teams played in April, a player for Cathedral Catholic shared social media posts showing someone wearing a shirt that read “Catholics vs. Convicts III” (a reference to past Notre Dame-Miami football games) with the caption “We run the City.”
Another photo showed Cathedral Catholic players making what appeared to be a gang sign with their hands.
Cathedral Catholic, which won the game 41-0, apologized for the incident and an unspecified number of players were suspended. The San Diego City Conference, which oversees athletic teams in the San Diego Unified School District and some private schools, conducted an investigation and suspended head coach Sean Doyle for two games, placed the team on two years’ probation and ordered Cathedral Catholic to implement a restorative education program.
Dunn’s statement said “we acknowledge members of the Cathedral community have made the effort to connect with our coaches and faculty. However, more deliberate intentional efforts to combat racism are warranted.”
In a separate statement, Lincoln administrators Agudelo, Brown and Romanowsky said: “In response to the events that took place surrounding our last competition with Cathedral’s varsity football team, Coach Dunn has made the decision to not play in the upcoming game against Cathedral. We support this decision.”
At the time the sanctions were announced, Brown and Dunn said they were consulted and satisfied with the way the investigation was handled. On Tuesday, Dunn told the Union-Tribune that was true but he wasn’t satisfied with the penalties.
“What are the consequences? That’s the problem,” he said.
“What I would want to happen is something we all want to happen in this world. Can we treat each other fairly? Can we not profile one team versus another, one race versus another, one community versus another?
“Can we just play the game without extra nonsense? When we are perceived to be angry and retaliatory that puts an extra target on us is so many ways. Now, I’m making a peaceful protest because my kids aren’t treated fairly.
“And yet, all everyone seems to see is, ‘Oh, you’re not playing the game.’ It’s so much bigger than the game. I welcome anybody to walk in my shoes. Let them understand they’re size 15 double wide.”
Dunn said there were efforts made my Cathedral to have a meeting.
“But the scale was not OK with me,” he said. “It wasn’t genuine.”
Doyle and Cathedral administrators were not immediately available for comment.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
1:52 p.m. Oct. 26, 2021: This article was updated with further reporting including an interview with Lincoln coach David Dunn.