LeBron James expressed anger and outrage upon viewing a disturbing video of a youth football coach hitting a child at a game that was shared online.
James shared the video on Instagram, commenting, “Ain’t no way!! Couldn’t be my kid.”
“If I there and it’s not even my kid we gone have more than words for sure,” he posted on Wednesday, Dec. 9.
In the footage, the coach, identified as Gerrel Williams, can be seen screaming and smacking the helmet of a 9-year-old player, striking the child so aggressively that at one point he falls to the ground.
The incident occurred on Dec. 7, at the American Youth Football (AYF) National Championship in Kissimmee, Florida.
Former NFL star and Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe also conveyed his disgust over the situation tweeting, “I’ll whip him even IF* that’s his kid. I won’t let anyone pray on the weak or vulnerable in front of me. Not going to happen.”
Williams admitted wrongdoing in a video apology on social media.
“I’m not going to make excuses for what I did. I was wrong. I shouldn’t have disciplined him in public, I should’ve waited until we got back,” Williams said.
“At the end of the day, I apologize to him, the kids, the city down here and my family back at home,” he continued. Williams also said the player and his parents forgave him.
Law enforcement said Florida’s Osceola County Sheriff’s Office investigated Williams for potential child abuse charges after they were sent video of the incident according to TMZ Sports.
A deputy examined the video and contacted the head of the AYF, as well as the player’s mother, according to an incident report.
“She was aware of the incident, and specifically stated she did not want to press charges,” said the report.
The deputy said that “Due to no victim willing to press charges for child abuse, an information report was generated to document the incident.”
The AYF released a statement announcing that Williams is banned for life from the organization and its events and activities.
“We are of course beyond disappointed in the coach’s actions, which are wholly inconsistent with the fundamental value of youth sports.” AYF Executive Vice President Adam Laufer told TMZ Sports.
AYF said all of its coaches go through a complete background check, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concussion training, and coaching training. AYF also said Williams violated the annual code of conduct, which all coaches must sign, Fox 8 reported.
Williams also was fired from his position at Georgia’s Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, which released a statement saying the department was “very disturbed” by the incident and does not condone his actions.