The Texas football players who basically assaulted a referee during a game went on “Good Morning America” on Friday and made their defense.
Victor Rojas and Michael Moreno said the referee made racial slurs. The duo also said one of the coaches of the John Jay High School team in San Antonio told them to ambush the referee, whose name is Robert Watts, because of missed calls in the game against Marble Falls.
“That’s not who I am,” Moreno said, according to The Associated Press. “Underneath the helmet and the pads, I’m really a great kid.”
The AP also reported that Moreno said he regrets hitting Watts and wants to apologize. Rojas said he was just doing what he was told.
“He didn’t say hurtful things to anybody, and he certainly didn’t say racial epithets,” Watts’ attorney, Alan Goldberger, told the AP. “It’s so typical that these accusations are made,” he said. “It’s always the referee’s fault.”
While the players didn’t name the coach, the school district has suspended assistant coach Mack Breed pending an investigation. The San Antonio Express-News has reported that Breed is “at the central of the referee-targeting controversy.”
Breed is a former Missouri defensive back. He was part of the Tigers program from 2004, his redshirt season, through 2008. Breed played sparingly as a reserve safety, and injuries impacted his college career.
He graduated from Missouri in 2008 with a degree in nutrition and fitness, and the former quarterback at John Jay High has worked at San Antonio schools since 2010.
You can watch the interview with the players here.
Here is video of the play, which has been viewed more than 10 million times:
Blair Kerkhoff, firstname.lastname@example.org, contributed to this story