MINNEAPOLIS — Players on North St. Paul High School's boys basketball team have elected to not play their games against Eden Prairie Friday night, days after the district reinstated head Coach David Flom following an investigation into his alleged use of a racial slur.
In a message to North St. Paul basketball families Wednesday night, head coach Cornelius Gilleylen said the team held a meeting with players, coaches, Principal Kevin Wolff, Assistant Principal Deron Drummond and Activities Director Jed Helwig.
"The purpose of the meeting was to hear from our student-athletes about the recent events that have taken place at Eden Prairie High School and how they have been impacted. After an in-depth discussion, the players unanimously decided not to participate in our boy's basketball game this upcoming Friday at Eden Prairie High School," Gilleylen said.
"The coaching staff, our school leadership, and district administration fully support the decision your sons made tonight," the coach continued. "We will communicate details about any schedule changes or adjustments in the near future."
On Monday, Jan. 23, Eden Prairie reinstated Coach Flom after the district concluded an investigation into complaints made against him in December.
The Star Tribune reported Flom was accused of reading a racial slur aloud in a classroom, which the district said was part of a lesson about responsible use of social media.
In a statement sent to KARE 11 Wednesday, Coach Flom apologized for the harm caused by his actions.
"I could not possibly be more sorry for all the harm that I have caused," Flom said. "We are trying to focus our attention and energies on helping the players, school and community to move forward with the lessons learned. I am amazed by the support we have received and continue to receive."
Principal Wolff said the decision to cancel the games against Eden Prairie came down to his students' concerns. "It was a really simple decision. We let them know right from the beginning of the meeting that wherever they land – and we were all united in terms of administration and activities directors and coaching staff – wherever they landed we would support 100%. They landed in a unanimous place in terms of a decision."
"They went with their hearts. Its how they felt," Gilleylen added. "I didn’t give them any reason to choose left or right on to play or not. We kept it an open discussion on whether they played. They went with their hearts and chose not to play."
All of North St. Paul's games against Eden Prairie Friday night, including the Boys 9, Boys B, Junior Varsity and Varsity games are canceled.
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