A Texas high school assistant football coach has denied ordering two players to hit a referee and says he only resigned under threat of being fired.
Mack Breed told the state's governing body for high school sports that he did say on the sideline that umpire Robert Watts "needs to pay" but was surprised when the players hit Watts. Video of the Sept. 4 incident created a national stir.
Breed had not spoken publicly until Thursday, but says he now wants to clear his name.
The University Interscholastic League suspended Breed for the rest of the school year but could have suspended him for up to three years.
The UIL also suspended the two players, a senior and a sophomore, from sports for the rest of the academic year.
About the incident
NPR reported on the football field incident in September:
The two students told school officials that they had been feeling frustrated by the officials' calls — and that a game official's use of racial slurs and a coach's suggestion of payback also played a role. [Watts has denied he made racist comments, his attorney has said.]…
[Millions have] viewed video of the incident, which shows one player sprinting toward and knocking the back judge to the ground — followed closely by the other player, who leveled his helmet as he struck the fallen man.
The incident took place during a game at Marble Falls High School, northwest of Austin; the players under scrutiny are from John Jay High, in San Antonio's large Northside Independent School District.