Assistant accused of instructing referee hit resigns
Round Rock, Texas — A Texas assistant football coach accused of instructing two players to hit a referee during a game has resigned, school officials said Thursday.
Members of Texas’ governing board of high school sports told John Jay head coach Gary Gutierrez on Thursday they might also consider probation against him, but the board adjourned a fact-finding hearing without taking action.
The principal and head football coach at John Jay High School in San Antonio told state officials Thursday they believe assistant Mack Breed told players to retaliate against an official in the closing minutes of a game earlier this month. The players told their coaches earlier in the game that referees had been directing racial slurs at them.
Robert Watts, the referee who was hit, denied using any racial slur. His attorney, Jay Downs, told the state governing board that his client didn’t tell the players earlier this month to “speak English, this is America.”
Watts didn’t attend the fact-finding hearing in Austin. Downs handed the board copies of family photos that show Watts at his wedding with his best man, who is black, and another of Watts’ grandmother, who is from Mexico.
Watts said in a written statement he has post-concussion syndrome. He said one John Jay player who struck him told him, “You’re in the way” and laughed.
The two suspended students, Michael Moreno and Victor Rojas, appeared Wednesday at separate disciplinary hearings, which were closed to the public. A decision is pending from the Northside school district on the students’ possible punishment, which could range from assignment to an alternative school to expulsion.
Video from the Sept. 4 game at Marble Falls shows Rojas blindsiding Watts and Moreno diving on top of him. Watts was the umpire on the defensive side watching a play along the line of scrimmage.