HOUSTON — Santa Fe High School seniors and first responders were invited to Game 5 of the Rockets Western Conference Finals.
Before the game, the team held a moment of silence to honor the victims of the school shooting.
The NBA shared a picture of students holding hands during that moment on its Twitter page.
However, many commenters honed in on the fact that one of the girls in the photo is standing alone. They called the other students racist, claiming they refused to hold the girl’s hand because she is black.
The student is Nicole Janice, a senior at Santa Fe High School.
She and her mother, Lynda, have spent the last several days trying to set the record straight.
“It’s very disappointing that people are going to take a race issue out of a picture with nine grieving girls in it,” Nicole said. “I grieve in my own different way. I don’t like to be touched. When we had that moment of silence, I didn’t want to grab anyone’s hands because I didn’t want to break down before we sang [the National Anthem].”
It turns out, a wider shot of the same moment shows other students not holding hands as well.
“When Nicole came out of her room Saturday morning, she was upset that they had turned this into a race thing, because she knew what was real,” said her mom, Lynda. “To make something so simple into a race issue was just absolutely ludicrous.”
Nicole says her race is not an issue at school and claims that classmates refused to hold her hand are false.