Brothers Arie, 19, and Nigel Kapoor, 16, were kicked out of the fourth annual Bakersfield Soccer Cup and their team, Bakersfield Lightning, was disqualified and forced to forfeit its game after the opposing squad's coach complained the Kapoor brothers weren't Indian enough.
Organizers of the Southern California invitational tournament for players of Indian descent agreed that the brothers were ineligible because although their father Sunny, is from India, their mother is American. Julie Kapoor, the boys' mother and a longtime Bakersfield resident, said her sons previously had never faced exclusion as a result of their mixed background and both played in the tournament in previous years.
"This was ridiculous," she said. "It's supposed to be fun and recreational. ... They were outraged. They've never really been subject to any racism because of their Indian background. ... This is not typical. Indians are a very warm, welcoming group of people."
Satnum Manku, coordinator Bakersfield Soccer Cup, admitted requiring that both parents are Indian is "not a good rule. But the other teams said, 'If you guys don't keep this rule, we won't come to play.' So we had to keep the rule."