HARBOR CITY, Calif. — A girls high school basketball team in Harbor City was disqualified from the playoffs because of their uniforms, reports CBS Los Angeles.
The Gauchos of Narbonne High were told that they had been banned from the postseason after the team changed the color of the text on its jerseys from the school’s colors of green-and-white to pink-and-white for breast cancer awareness.
“To be stripped of our rights because we believe in something is totally just devastating,” Narbonne senior Latisha Smith remarked to the station. “Breast cancer awareness and power. This is important for women to unify together, because it’s all over the place.”
The team played its quarter-final game in February wearing the jersey featuring pink letters and numbers and wasn’t issued a warning. They again wore the jerseys in their victorious semi-final.
The team found out about its disqualification on Monday. Now, the team they beat is playing in the championship instead.
“I am shocked and devastated and sad, because we worked so hard to get here,” Smith said. “This means a lot to us, and saving girls’ lives, literally.”
While team members now understand that changing the colors of the jerseys was against the league’s rules, they maintain they had no prior knowledge, and that the punishment is too harsh.
Narbonne High School’s principal, Gerald Kobata, issued a statement addressing the punishment.
“This is a huge disappointment for the girls basketball team, a team that worked so hard to achieve success on the court and in the classroom,” he said. “I feel badly for the students, especially the seniors, their families and the Narbonne community.”
The league hasn’t commented on the issue.
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