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Jordan basketball team pulled from MLK Showcase in Minneapolis after controversial Trump banner

Students from Jordan held up a pro-Trump banner at a Jan. 15 game.

Minneapolis Patrick Henry's boys' basketball team didn't get to play in today's highly anticipated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day invitational at Minneapolis Roosevelt High School, because Jordan High School pulled its boys' team from the competition. 

Jordan and Patrick Henry were scheduled to meet at 5 p.m., but Jordan school officials elected to pull their team from the game due to "recent events" detracting attention from the "hard work of the athletes and the upbeat focus of the MLK Showcase. 

Recent events? 

On Jan. 15, Roosevelt's boys' team traveled south to play Jordan. During the game students from Jordan unveiled a large sign that read: "Trump - 2020 - Keep America Great!" 

The signed received significant amounts of criticism, with Roosevelt head coach Michael Zeke Walker posting a photo of the sign on Facebook and writing: 

"I coach a predominantly black inner city high school team. We go out to a rural area in Jordan, MN and this is there. Please explain how and why this is appropriate at a high school basketball game?"

Patrick Henry head coach Jamil Jackson told the Star Tribune that he was told Jordan's players were afraid of possible retaliation playing at Roosevelt, but that claim was denied by Superintendent Helgerson. 

Here's the reason Helgerson gave in a statement issued Sunday. 

"The Jordan School District was scheduled to participate in the MLK Showcase event on Monday, January 21st. This is a wonderful athletic competition that showcases the skills of athletes from across the state. Given recent events, we believe the participation of our team in the event will detract from the hard work of the athletes and the upbeat focus of the MLK Showcase. After discussion with the MLK Showcase event coordinator, a decision has been made to pull out of the MLK Showcase game on Monday, January 21st. We do not want our presence at the event to detract from the athletes. We will continue to work with the Minneapolis School District to work cooperatively to move forward in a positive direction."

Helgerson issued a statement following the Jan. 15 game, essentially apologizing to Roosevelt.

"We regret that Roosevelt players and their coaching staff, fans and community were made to feel uncomfortable as it is always our intent to graciously host our opponents," he said. 

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