Two high school football players from Texas who tackled a referee spoke to Good Morning America on Friday, saying their coach told them to attack the ref.
According to the players, Victor Rojas and Michael Moreno, the assistant coach of their team told them, “You need to hit him” and that the referee “needs to pay the price”.
Reportedly the John Jay High School coach, Mack Breed, was angered after the ref hurled racial slurs on the field and made calls that he saw as unfair.
The 17-year-old Moreno said that Breed’s “emotions just got mixed into it,” adding that “he told us to do what we did.”
The tackle caused huge outrage when the video surfaced of referee Robert Watts being slammed down by Watts and Moreno in a game against San Antonio earlier this month. It led to the players’ suspension and a police investigation.
In their first interview after the incident, the students both claimed they heard Watts call a black student the n-word.
While the ref’s attorney calls the claims “flat out lies”, the district is reportedly planning to file a complaint against Watts.
Coach Breed has meanwhile been placed on administrative leave. So far he has not commented on the case.