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Mendocino HS basketball player says youth have the right to express their views, wear "I Can't Breathe" shirts

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NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers wears an "I Can't Breathe" shirt during warmups before his game against the Brooklyn Nets during their game at the Barclays Center on December 8, 2014 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers wears an "I Can't Breathe" shirt during warmups before his game against the Brooklyn Nets during their game at the Barclays Center on December 8, 2014 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Junior Connor Woods was at the center of the fight for Mendocino High School basketball players to wear "I Can't Breathe" T-shirts during warm-ups.

Officer-involved deaths of African American men have stirred protest and debate throughout the United States, including in the Northern California region of Mendocino County.

Members of the Mendocino High School boys and girls basketball teams there have been caught up in a battle over their right to wear t-shirts bearing the words, "I Can't Breathe" during warm-ups at a local basketball tournament.

"I Can't Breathe" refers to the choke-hold death of Eric Garner at the hands of a New York Police Officer over the summer. The phrase has been emblazoned on shirts worn by many protestors across the country, including superstars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, who wore them before nationally-televised NBA games.

Mendocino High School Junior Connor Woods is one member of the basketball team who pushed the tournament hosts -- the Fort Bragg School District -- to allow his schools' teams to wear the shirts before their games. He joined Take Two, along with his attorney Karen Boyd.

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