Two Texas high school players who blindsided a football referee during a game reportedly told school officials the game official had used a racial slur against them and they were encouraged to retaliate against him by an assistant coach.
The Friday contest involved John Jay High School against Marble Falls, reported KXAN-TV
, and time was winding down in the fourth quarter when the two players ran into referee Robert Watts from behind.
One of the players was ejected from the game and both were suspended from school. The assistant coach was put on paid administrative leave. Watts angrily denied making any slurs.
"All of us associated with Northside school district are absolutely heartbroken with the incident that occurred in the football game with John Jay High School and Marble Falls last Friday night," saidBrian Wood, Northside Independent School District superintendent at a news conference. "The incident is shameful to us. In no way, does it reflect what we stand for in our school district."
Northside Independent School District communications director Pascual Gonzales said players felt frustrated during the game about what they believed were missed and wrong calls about the referees.
"The players also allege racial slurs were directed at them, by the umpire," said Gonzalez. "The students allege that an assistant coach said, 'That ref needs to pay for cheating us.'"
reported that John Jay's assistant coach Mack Breed, 29, has been placed on paid administrative leave while the district investigates his possible role in the incident.
Watts fired back about the racial slur charges on TexasHSFootball.com
, strongly denying the claims.
"I like to keep my officiating quiet; unfortunately this will be big news," said Watts. "Libel and slander have already been committed against me. I will be contacting the appropriate people soon and any statement from me will come at a later date."
The University Interscholastic League, which governs high school sports in Texas, issued its own statement about the incident on Sunday.
Marble Falls Police Chief Mark Whitacre told KXAN-TV his office was investigating for possible misdemeanor charges against the players.
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