The Texas high school football players under investigation for blindsiding a referee during a game last week say the official made racial comments to them before they attacked him.
On Tuesday, Northside Independent School District Superintendent Brian T. Woods said that the investigation so far shows that an assistant coach for John Jay High School in San Antonio may have egged on the assault by suggesting that students retaliate for the ref’s alleged bias against his team.
Video of the assault shows the ref completely unprepared for the hit as one of the players crashed into him from behind before the other lowered his helmet and hit the downed ref a second time.
The superintendent said that the two players, sophomore Victor Rojas and senior Mike Moreno, face a disciplinary hearing. But he also noted that the district seeks to file a complaint with the Texas Association of Sports Officials over the referee’s alleged conduct on the field.
“Libel and slander have already been committed against me,” the referee told the Austin American-Statesman. “I will be contacting the appropriate people soon and any statement from me will come at a later date.”
According to school officials, they placed assistant coach Mack Breed on leave for allegedly telling the students that the ref “needs to pay for cheating us.”
Marble Falls Police Sgt. Tom Dillard said that his investigation will take at least a week to complete. The policeman also said that the likely charge would be misdemeanor assault but that this isn’t “chiseled into stone.”
“All of us are heartbroken over the situation that occurred at the game Friday night between John Jay and Marble Falls,” Superintendent Woods said in the statement. “The incident is shameful and in no way reflects who Northside ISD and Jay High School are.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com