Coach, Player: Racial Intimidation on the Court

It’s not surprising to hear trash-talk out on the basketball court. In fact, it’s not surprising to hear trash-talk in any arena. But, when trash-talk turns to racial intimidation, that’s a whole other ball game we’re playing.

Monsio Jlaka, one of three black basketball players from a Phillipsburg team, said he was one of the targets of racial slurs and comments during a 17-and-under, Community Basketball League game Friday.

He said he was getting so angry that he had to be taken out of the game.

“They just kept talking a lot, using the n-word,” Jlaka said.

The Phillipsburg Police Athletic League Enforcers and the Palmer Wildcats were going head to head in an intense b-ball game where racial intimidation started out on the court and continued to the parking lot after the game, according to a Phillipsburg coach and player.

“It just ticks me off that this had to happen at a kids’ basketball game. No kid should have to tolerate hearing those things – period. It was uncalled for,” said Todd Opitz, the Phillipsburg coach.

The Wildcats assistant coach, Scott Sanguinito said he didn’t hear anything.

“I did not hear anything and no one brought anything to my attention – players, coaches, or referees,” said Sanguinito.

NBCPhiladelphia called League President Donald Miller, Vice President Cliff Salvemini and Commissioner Jim Craig; they did not return our messages.

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