A Texas high school coach who ordered his players to take out a referee has resigned from his post, according to The Guardian. Mack Breed, a coach at John Jay High School, admitted to Principal Robert Harris that he had ordered Michael Moreno and Victor Rojas to make referee Robert Watts pay for making racially offensive comments.
The players claim they heard Watts disparaging Blacks and Latinos.
“He told one of my Hispanic friends, ‘Speak English — this is America,’” Rojas said in an interview with Good Morning America. “I heard that and he called an African-American the n-word.”
James Reeves, Breed’s attorney, told The Guardian his client should not be held solely responsible for what happened.
“Some people are unfairly blaming one man for everything that happened at that game,” Reeves said.“Mack Breed has spent three agonizing weeks contemplating his future since the fateful football game in which two players struck a referee. It has been a difficult road for Mack as he has stood silently watching the spectacle. He has replayed that game in his mind many times wondering how it all went wrong.”
Moreno and Rojas have been suspended for 75 days and are currently attending an alternative school. They went on Good Morning America last week to express their remorse.
“I am greatly sorry for this and I regret it greatly. I hope people can change their minds about us and the consequences,” said Moreno. “Everyone sees me as this thug or gangster: ‘I did this because I’m a bad guy.’ That’s not who I am. Underneath the helmet and the pads, I’m really a great kid.”
Watts, who is white, denied making the comments and is considering taking legal action. Good Morning America said Northside Independent School District plans to file a formal complaint against Watts. The University Interscholastic League (UIL), of which John Jay High School is a member, is still weighing whether to hand out stiffer punishment against Moreno and Rojas or the whole team. According to The Guardian, the UIL also has the option of cancelling John Jay’s entire season.
Rojas said he was just following orders, although those orders may have been illegal.
“You put your trust into this grown up, a guardian, your coach who has been there since my sophomore, freshmen year,” he said. “I just did what I was told.”