PORTLAND, Ore -- The Lincoln High School varsity girls basketball team played a playoff game Tuesday night without their coach Ashley Stewart.
A player and her mother said the coach made the daughter a target of racist comments.
“I feel it was appropriate for sure,” said Keona Miller said of the coach's absence Tuesday.
Miller's daughter Tianna, up until recently, played for Stewart.
Miller says Stewart mistreated her daughter all season long.
“Many times I watched Tianna crying,” said Miller. “It’s hard for a mom to watch a child go through that.”
“I felt very excluded,” Tianna said.
She said coach Stewart excluded her because of the color of her skin.
Tianna said Stewart once sent a text message to the team asking if a boy in a photo selling chips on a street corner was Tianna’s younger brother.
“I do feel like it was racially motivated,” said Miller. “I really do.”
Tianna also points out several conversations she had with her coach.
“Before practice I was putting lotion on and she was like, ‘Oh, you’re putting on lotion,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I’m ashy,’ and she said, 'Black people get ashy.”
The racist comments, as Tianna calls them, did not end there.
“She came up to me and said, ‘TT you’re Hawaiian?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah,’ and she said, ‘I thought you were just black.’”
The allegations of racial discrimination come two years after the boys’ basketball coach at Lincoln High School was briefly suspended for accusing his white players of being afraid of black players.
Principal Peyton Chapman cannot talk specifics about either case, but she says the school works tirelessly to create a safe and inclusive environment.
“It’s crucial,” said Chapman. “Students need to know their school recognizes them, sees their strength, and puts them in positions to have access to opportunities.”
Keona Miller believes the school, and more specifically Stewart, failed her daughter.
“I think there’s a lot of work to do at Lincoln High School,” she said.
KGW did reach out to Ashley Stewart for a comment, but she has not yet replied.
Clackamas High beat Lincoln 62-37 to advance in the tournament.