Coach Resigns After Reportedly Admitting He Ordered Players to Tackle Referee
The two Texas high school football players who tackled a referee during a game earlier this month did so after an assistant coach ordered them to, according to evidence ESPN's Outside the Lines obtained.
John Jay High School assistant coach Mack Breed confessed after the game to head coach Gary Gutierrez, per ESPN, saying he "directed the students to make the referee pay for his racial comments and calls." The next day, Breed, who resigned Thursday, according to a statement from his lawyer provided to ESPN.com's John Barr, allegedly reiterated what he had done during a conversation with Gutierrez and John Jay Principal Robert Harris.
"Coach Breed told me that he directed the students to make the referee pay for his racial comments and calls," Harris wrote in a signed letter, according to ESPN. "He wanted to take full responsibility for his actions. Mr. Breed at one point during our conversation stated that he should have handled the referee himself."
Multiple John Jay players have alleged that the referee, Robert Watts, directed racial slurs at their teammates before the incident. Watts, through an attorney, had denied any such claims. According to KSAT's Cory Smith, the head coach of Marble Falls High School's football team, John Jay's opponent that night, backed up Watts' denial during a University Interscholastic League hearing Thursday:
Marble Falls head football coach tells @uiltexas that none of his players heard referee Robert Watts use racial slur— Cory Smith (@KSATcory) September 24, 2015
On Wednesday, the Northside Independent school district held individual hearings for the two players, Victor Rojas and Michael Moreno, and decided they will be eligible to return to John Jay for their spring semester, per Barr. In the interim, they have been temporarily transferred to an alternative school in the district.
The boys' attorney, Jesse Hernandez, told Barr that nothing in the district's ruling will prevent Rojas, a sophomore, from rejoining the football team next year. However, the University Interscholastic League has the power to overturn that decision and bar Rojas from playing football again.
Though Breed had already resigned before the UIL meeting Thursday, the panel unanimously voted to prohibit him from obtaining another coaching job in a UIL-member school until he discusses the incident with the organization, according to Kens5.com's David Flores.
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