A youth football coach from Georgia was charged with child abuse on Friday after a video went viral showing him allegedly hitting one of his players during a playoff game in Florida. The American Youth Football (AYF) league called the coach’s actions a “complete breach” of its code of conduct and slapped him with a lifetime ban from its activities.
Someone shared this with me. It was on their Facebook page. Supposedly happened in Florida during some championships during the past week. Anyone know disposition? Should’ve been arrested . . . . . Absolutely, totally uncalled for. We have to rid sports of “coaches” like this. pic.twitter.com/X57VMr7Rfe
— Chris Fore (@CoachFore) December 9, 2020
The coach was also fired from his job as a detention center counselor at Georgia’s Chatham County Sheriff’s Office. “We reviewed the video, we did an internal investigation, we brought him in, we interviewed him and he is no longer employed,” a spokeswoman reportedly said. “We do not condone that type of behavior.”
The coach, Gerrel Williams, was arrested after an investigation that began with obtaining the video on Tuesday and involved speaking with the victim’s mother, who “advised she was aware of the incident, and specifically stated she did not want to press charges,” but ultimately ended in Williams’ arrest.
Williams issued an apology on Facebook Live after the incident saying:
At the end of the day, I am a man, and I’m not gon’ make no excuses for what I did. … I was wrong. I shouldn’t have disciplined him in public — I shoulda waited ‘til he got back — for doing what he did.
At the end of the day, I apologize to him, the kids, the city … and my family back at home. I do apologize. There’s no excuse for my actions. I hope he forgive me, and his parents have forgiven me.
According to Yahoo Sports:
Among those who witnessed Monday’s incident as it happened was one of the opposing team’s coaches. Ben Fatilua told Yahoo Sports on Friday that the Savannah Gators were in the midst of a penalty- and turnover-plagued first half and that the player punched by Williams had just fumbled.
Fatilua was explaining to his San Diego-based team what adjustments he wanted them to make when he heard hollering from the opposing sideline. He said he looked up just in time to see Williams “cock his arm back and hit the kid.”
“I’m looking over like, ‘What the hell? You guys are OK with that?'” Fatilua said. “The other parents weren’t saying nothing, so I’m like, ‘OK, I’ll just tell the refs.'”
The referees reportedly said there was nothing they could do since they had their backs to the incident. Fatilua told Yahoo Sports his brother-in-law back home had paid to watch a live stream of the game, so he asked him to capture video of the incident. “I sent it to my president of my organization and he sent it to AYF,” Fatilua said. “That’s how everything got handled.”
The Savannah Gators have reportedly deleted their Facebook page after receiving comments from all over the country, including from NBA star LeBron James, who reportedly said on Instagram, “Ain’t no way!! Couldn’t be my kid. Hell if I there and it’s not even my kid we gone have more than words for sure.” NFL’s Shannon Sharpe said, “I’ll whip him even IF* that’s his kid. I won’t let anyone pray on the weak or vulnerable in front of me. Not going to happen.”