Student Well-Being

After Tackling Referee, Texas H.S. Football Players Temporarily Transferred

By Bryan Toporek — September 16, 2015 2 min read
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The two Texas high school football players who appeared to intentionally tackle a referee during a game earlier this month have been temporarily transferred to an alternative school, pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.

While the investigation into their actions continues, multiple players from the San Antonio-based John Jay High School have alleged that the referee used inflammatory language prior to the incident, according to John Barr and Michael Sciallo of ESPN’s Outside The Lines. In particular, four John Jay players told Barr and Sciallo that the referee called two players the N-word—once before the hit and once immediately afterward.

They shared the details of what may have helped spark the confrontation:

In the fourth quarter, according to the accounts of two different John Jay players obtained by Outside the Lines, [quarterback Moses] Reynolds ran the ball up the middle on a quarterback keeper and, after getting tackled, found himself on the receiving end of some trash talk from a Marble Falls player. According to the accounts of two players, Reynolds did not respond to the opposing player but instead turned to [referee Robert] Watts, threw him the ball and said, “See, I’m not saying nothing.”

Two John Jay players said Watts, apparently angry with the way Reynolds had thrown the ball to him, confronted Reynolds and said: “N-----, throw the f---ing ball at me again.”

Prior to the incident, two John Jay players had already been ejected from the game for separate reasons. One school administrator described the atmosphere as a “powder keg” when speaking to OTL, as two John Jay touchdowns had been negated by penalties. In addition, one Marble Falls High School player struck Reynolds in the facemask at least twice, according to video of the play OTL reviewed, but only Reynolds was ejected from the game after retaliating by striking the player’s facemask.

One of John Jay’s assistant coaches, Mack Breed, allegedly said on the sideline, “That guy needs to play for cheating us,” a few plays before the two John Jay players tackled the referee, according to Breed has been placed on leave pending an investigation. Meanwhile, the players’ chance of being reinstated at John Jay following the investigation is “highly unlikely,” a source told ESPN’s Pedro Gomez.

The University Interscholastic League is likewise investigating the incident and may make a decision regarding the outcome of the two former football players during its next regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 23, according to the New York Times.

John Jay played its first game since the incident this past Friday, losing to Del Rio High School, 37-14.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.