ESPN: Coach admitted to principal that he ordered hits on ref

posted at 12:01 pm on September 24, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

It appears that the Texas high-school football players involved in a vicious hit on a defenseless game official told the truth, at least in part. The assistant coach fingered by the two players actually admitted his role in directing players to attack the referee almost immediately afterward to the head coach, and then the next day to the principal. So why keep it quiet as the story exploded?

An assistant coach at John Jay High School in San Antonio told his school principal that he ordered his players to hit a referee in a Sept. 4 game out of anger that the official used racist language, according to evidence obtained by Outside the Lines.

In a signed statement detailing his interactions with the head coach after the game, John Jay High School principal Robert Harris says the team’s secondary coach, Mack Breed, admitted he “directed the students to make the referee pay for his racial comments and calls.” …

After reaching the school, Harris wrote, Gutierrez eventually met face-to-face with Harris in Harris’ car in the school parking lot.

“He then informed me that Coach Breed had disclosed to him [Gutierrez] that he directed the players to take out the referee,” Harris wrote. “[Gutierrez] stated that Coach Breed initially asked him what was going to happen to the players during their ride home from the game. After Coach Gutierrez informed him that the players would be removed from the team, he informed Coach Gutierrez that he directed the players to strike the referee.”

That meeting, in the early-morning hours of Sept. 5, was followed by another meeting in Harris’ office, at 6 p.m. that same day.

“I later met with Coach Breed at John Jay High School … in my office in the presence of Coach Gutierrez,” Harris wrote. “Coach Breed told me that he directed the students to make the referee pay for his racial comments and calls. He wanted to take full responsibility for his actions. Mr. Breed at one point during our conversation stated that he should have handled the referee himself.”

It’s interesting in an odd way that Breed stepped up so quickly to admit his role in the attack to his coach and principal. He’s been conspicuously silent about it ever since the story went viral, though. Perhaps Breed got some legal advice between September 5th and when the national news media picked up the story, but if so, it may have come a little late. He’s now created two witnesses apart from the players to an admission that will make it difficult to come up with a less-incriminating story.

If the referee plans to pursue criminal charges, these statements make Breed the natural target for prosecutors. That might be good news for Moreno and Rojas, who can then cut deals to testify against Breed. It also is good news for Robert Watts, the victim of the attack, as it makes the school even more liable for the actions of a paid employee, assuming – and it’s all but certain, right? – that Watts wants to sue for damages.

Note though that all involved still insist that Watts used racial epithets during the game, using that as a rationalization for the attack. Watts, through his attorney, strongly denies that accusation. Even if it were true, though, what difference does it make? It’s almost a non-sequitur in the context of an attack on a game official, especially one who got blindsided. It wouldn’t be a defense on a late hit on a player, let alone a cheap shot on a non-participant. Perhaps the allegation is true, but the continued insistence on it as a justification looks a lot like PR for a potential jury pool. In Texas, especially with their attachment to high-school football, expect that to be a long shot for success.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

At what age do you expect a person to say no when asked to do something wrong? If these kids had done that, and had the punishment been the same (taken off the field but by Coach Breed) their option, going public, would have been the same.

Cindy Munford on September 24, 2015 at 12:09 PM

Watts will suffer more damage from this event than either the coaches or the players. You can bank on it. Because racism.

Darin on September 24, 2015 at 12:09 PM

At what age do you expect a person to say no when asked to do something wrong?
Cindy Munford on September 24, 2015 at 12:09 PM

Especially when the assault could easily have disabled the victim for life, if not kill him.

whatcat on September 24, 2015 at 12:12 PM

And it isn’t just Texas.

Cindy Munford on September 24, 2015 at 12:14 PM

At what age do you expect a person to say no when asked to do something wrong?

Cindy Munford on September 24, 2015 at 12:09 PM

Exactly. I would have mocked the coach for being a baby. I walked off the field for lesser offenses.

John the Libertarian on September 24, 2015 at 12:15 PM

Since they already have admissions, I’m not sure why they would need to cut a deal with the players. Does this go up higher than the assistant coach?

Fenris on September 24, 2015 at 12:15 PM

Cindy Munford on September 24, 2015 at 12:09 PM

They were old enough to know better, or they’ve been on teams since being youngsters that encouraged this sort of behavior.

The closest I ever came was having a baseball coach tell us to purposely lose to another team because they were so bad it was hurting their feelings, we went out there and beat the livin’ hell out of them. Sorry coach, these are life lessons and life isn’t fair.

Bishop on September 24, 2015 at 12:21 PM

Since they already have admissions, I’m not sure why they would need to cut a deal with the players. Does this go up higher than the assistant coach?
Fenris on September 24, 2015 at 12:15 PM

Breaking news: Assistant coach was under orders from Greg Abbott!
And Rick Perry!
;)

Marcola on September 24, 2015 at 12:22 PM

You knew this was the case since it was two players acting in concert.

jnelchef on September 24, 2015 at 12:22 PM

I bet the ref just said “I don’t agree with Obama”. Which is a racist comment nowadays.

RSbrewer on September 24, 2015 at 12:22 PM

And it isn’t just Texas.

Cindy Munford

watched the tape, yet despite what your lying eyes tell you, “The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association looked at the tape and determined that the player wasn’t targeting the official

williampeck1958 on September 24, 2015 at 12:22 PM

Did you order the code red?

YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT I DID!

VinceOfDoom on September 24, 2015 at 12:24 PM

Watts will suffer more damage from this event than either the coaches or the players. You can bank on it. Because racism.

Darin on September 24, 2015 at 12:09 PM

The Race Card is Privileged

TheMadHessian on September 24, 2015 at 12:24 PM

Sports, like religion, often brings out the worst and the best in humanity… it just seems it’s more the prior than the latter for both.

Kevin Burnett on September 24, 2015 at 12:24 PM

Both students should still be thrown off the team. They should have known better. We hold soldiers and others responsible for their actions, regardless of what their superiors ask. This is a harsh punishment, but will teach them to blow the whistle on people who ask someone to break the rules. (Isn’t this what education is about – teaching lessons?)

djaymick on September 24, 2015 at 12:25 PM

Bishop on September 24, 2015 at 12:21 PM

What are we going to do with adults these days?

Cindy Munford on September 24, 2015 at 12:25 PM

Kids in high school may be hoping for a scholarship or even a career in the NFL and worry about repercussions if they don’t do what a coach says, so it’s tough to blame them to much for doing what a coach tells them to do even if they knew it was wrong (which they most assuredly did), they still deserve some punishment though.

clearbluesky on September 24, 2015 at 12:27 PM

Bishop on September 24, 2015 at 12:21 PM

What are we going to do with adults these days?

Cindy Munford on September 24, 2015 at 12:25 PM

Send ’em to re-education camps…

kirkill on September 24, 2015 at 12:29 PM

It’s interesting in an odd way that Breed stepped up so quickly to admit his role in the attack to his coach and principal.

Or maybe he was stepping up to protect the players he was just told would be suspended.

xblade on September 24, 2015 at 12:30 PM

Cindy –

At what age do you expect a person to say no when asked to do something wrong?

Don’t the Dhimmi’s now consider people “children” until age 26?

Interestingly, I look back on my family tree and see everyone there married with anywhere from one to four children by age 26. All holding down jobs, supporting their families, paying taxes, you know, all the stuff REAL grown-ups do…

oldleprechaun on September 24, 2015 at 12:31 PM

williampeck1958 on September 24, 2015 at 12:22 PM

Good grief! I worked for a public school system and am still amazed at what they will let kids get away with based on any possibility that it will have some impact on their future. Except of course actually making sure they can read and write. I guess they think they learn by osmosis somewhere along the line.

Cindy Munford on September 24, 2015 at 12:31 PM

Fenris on September 24, 2015 at 12:15 PM

Breaking news: Assistant coach was under orders from Greg Abbott!
And Rick Perry!
;)

Marcola on September 24, 2015 at 12:22 PM

Heh. But seriously, I could see the head coach, and a couple teachers, standing around having a weekend bbq, and getting all worked up about how unfair the officials are, and how they need to be taught a lesson. Pure speculation though; it’s the only reason I could see they would need to cut a deal to get more info.

Fenris on September 24, 2015 at 12:33 PM

oldleprechaun on September 24, 2015 at 12:31 PM

I think back to my dad, who left school to work in the coal mines of WVA, who didn’t want me to work as a teenager. He said once you go to work, you work the rest of your life and to be a good adult you had to have a childhood. He was a minority with that view when I grew up but now I think, just maybe, it’s been taken too far.

Cindy Munford on September 24, 2015 at 12:35 PM

Note though that all involved still insist that Watts used racial epithets during the game.

Note that none of them have any credibility or evidence and that we have an experienced ref who’s never been accused of anything remotely like this. First they assault and batter the guy, and now they’re raping his reputation.

RadClown on September 24, 2015 at 12:35 PM

In the Adrenalin rush of a game, where the coach is “god” player get caught up in the moment…they are kids and coaches are there to guide them, direct them, and kids are just kids.

I was on the national water polo team, I don’t know how many times the opposing coach sent in a player to “sacrifice” (a head hunter) and take me out, me being the 3 meter man…especially international teams.

After, I almost always got a sincere handshake from the players, but hardly ever from the opposing coach (assuming we won). In the heat of the moment, the players are focused on one thing…what the coach tells them.

Crowds yelling, players exhorting, the coach grabbing you and telling you forcibly to do something to take control of the game…you do it when you are a kid.

The kids learned a lesson, hopefully, but I don’t hold them fully accountable, just to the point they need to know and understand when to draw a line, when to say no…

right2bright on September 24, 2015 at 12:37 PM

It’s interesting in an odd way that Breed stepped up so quickly to admit his role in the attack to his coach and principal. He’s been conspicuously silent about it ever since the story went viral, though.

Sources: Coach recants statement he ordered ref attack

“I wrote a statement on Sept. 5 about an incident that occurred on Sept. 4,” Breed wrote in his second statement. “This statement is written to explain why the previous statement was not entirely true.

“I never told anyone to hurt or target anyone on Sept. 4. To understand that statement, you must know who I am. I’m 29 years old and have been coaching for six years. My job in working with these kids means the world to me. I don’t have any children, so they are my own sons. I would take a bullet for my kids if I had to.

“That being said, that is what I did Friday night after the game,” Breed wrote. “Me and my head coach (Gutierrez) were sitting across from each other on the bus, so we started talking about the events that took place. Throughout the conversation, I started to realize how serious it could be for the boys at that point, so I took the blame for them.

“I did that hoping the kids would still be able to play and not get expelled from school,” Breed wrote. “The following day, we were watching film as a staff and I was called into the principal’s office to write a statement about what I told the head coach on the bus. Again, I did this thinking the kids would be let off the hook and that everything would be fine.

“Now that I have seen the video and see how they hit the referee, I can no longer take the blame for the incident,” Breed wrote. “I never told these players to hurt or injure anyone in that football game. I only made my earlier statement to try and save the boys from being kicked off the team. I wanted more time to teach them discipline and character they need.

“I didn’t realize the statement made on Saturday was going to be forwarded to district office. I assumed it was going to be used to help save the kids. Now that I’m giving a formal statement, I want to be honest about the situation that occurred on Friday night.
“If the coach would have told me to write a statement on what happened at the game, I would have wrote one similar to this one,” Breed wrote. “Instead, when I wrote a statement about what I told him (Gutierrez) I wrote a false statement based on our conversation from the night before in an effort to protect the kids. That is why the statement from Sept. 5 is so vague.”

Flora Duh on September 24, 2015 at 12:39 PM

re: the recanting of the statement

this guy needs to be banned from sport for life due to Stupidity above and beyond the grounds of comprehension, if for nothing else. It never occurred to him that “Hey, my last statement was a lie, but THIS statement is true now!” is not the kind of thing that gives anyone confidence in anything he says?

Breed is now a self-confessed liar and fabricator, and nothing he says in any fashion will be of any value in any legal proceedings. He’s completely discredited any testimony he has given, or can ever give. He’s done – maybe he can look forward to a nice job picking up dead animals on the side of the road, cuz that’s all I think he’s fit for from now on.

I’m now thinking they should disband the football program at that school for 2 or 3 years and fire EVERYONE in the sports department. That’ll get their attention, and the attention of every other coach in the state.

Tom Servo on September 24, 2015 at 12:49 PM

The only ones accusing the ref of the slurs are the 2 players who hit him. I don’t believe anyone else has come forward to corroborate this. They told the coach the ref used slurs. The coach ordered the hit. Unless someone else can point to any other sources, I think all of the hoopla on the racial comments originated from the players who were tossed out for hitting the ref.

airupthere on September 24, 2015 at 12:50 PM

At what age do you expect a person to say no when asked to do something wrong?

Cindy Munford on September 24, 2015 at 12:09 PM

“I was only following orders…”

Ricard on September 24, 2015 at 12:51 PM

“I didn’t realize the statement made on Saturday was going to be forwarded to district office…

Flora Duh on September 24, 2015 at 12:39 PM

I believe this part of his statement.

Fenris on September 24, 2015 at 12:57 PM

watched the tape, yet despite what your lying eyes tell you, “The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association looked at the tape and determined that the player wasn’t targeting the official“

williampeck1958 on September 24, 2015 at 12:22 PM

I don’t buy that – not that they said that, but that they are wrong.

22044 on September 24, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Once again, South Park gets it right. In the social justice warrior episode, a student gets beaten up really badly for using inappropriate language. Same exact thing here – a ref was almost disabled by someone who was offended by some language.

Get a grip people, physically hurting someone is not the same as verbally hurting someone,and the irony of someone using violence to counteract bad feelings is just too rich. Hint, it’s all in your head.

cosmacelf on September 24, 2015 at 1:02 PM

It’s interesting in an odd way that Breed stepped up so quickly to admit his role in the attack to his coach and principal. He’s been conspicuously silent about it ever since the story went viral, though.

Sources: Coach recants statement he ordered ref attack

“I wrote a statement on Sept. 5 about an incident that occurred on Sept. 4,” Breed wrote in his second statement. “This statement is written to explain why the previous statement was not entirely true.

“I never told anyone to hurt or target anyone on Sept. 4. To understand that statement, you must know who I am. I’m 29 years old and have been coaching for six years. My job in working with these kids means the world to me. I don’t have any children, so they are my own sons. I would take a bullet for my kids if I had to.

“That being said, that is what I did Friday night after the game,” Breed wrote. “Me and my head coach (Gutierrez) were sitting across from each other on the bus, so we started talking about the events that took place. Throughout the conversation, I started to realize how serious it could be for the boys at that point, so I took the blame for them.

“I did that hoping the kids would still be able to play and not get expelled from school,” Breed wrote. “The following day, we were watching film as a staff and I was called into the principal’s office to write a statement about what I told the head coach on the bus. Again, I did this thinking the kids would be let off the hook and that everything would be fine.

“Now that I have seen the video and see how they hit the referee, I can no longer take the blame for the incident,” Breed wrote. “I never told these players to hurt or injure anyone in that football game. I only made my earlier statement to try and save the boys from being kicked off the team. I wanted more time to teach them discipline and character they need.

“I didn’t realize the statement made on Saturday was going to be forwarded to district office. I assumed it was going to be used to help save the kids. Now that I’m giving a formal statement, I want to be honest about the situation that occurred on Friday night.
“If the coach would have told me to write a statement on what happened at the game, I would have wrote one similar to this one,” Breed wrote. “Instead, when I wrote a statement about what I told him (Gutierrez) I wrote a false statement based on our conversation from the night before in an effort to protect the kids. That is why the statement from Sept. 5 is so vague.”

Flora Duh on September 24, 2015 at 12:39 PM

I thought this might be fishy.
His initial statement seemed a bit too enthusiastic.

22044 on September 24, 2015 at 1:02 PM

Flora Duh on September 24, 2015 at 12:39 PM

Reasonable doubt for everyone!

Cindy Munford on September 24, 2015 at 1:03 PM

“Reports: John Jay assistant recants that he told players to hit ref and then resigns”

JoeHanson on September 24, 2015 at 1:04 PM

cosmacelf on September 24, 2015 at 1:02 PM

That’s good point, I am totally discounting that part of the story because of my sticks and stones theory on life but the fact that these people, students and apparently coach alike, think it is a plausible excuse says a lot about where we are.

Cindy Munford on September 24, 2015 at 1:06 PM

It’s interesting in an odd way that Breed stepped up so quickly to admit his role in the attack to his coach and principal. He’s been conspicuously silent about it ever since the story went viral, though.

Breed works for the coach & the principle. He owes no explanation to the media or anyone else. He told who he should have. And he’ll pay a price.

Why do people think they are owed an explanation? They are owed nothing.

portlandon on September 24, 2015 at 1:09 PM

Watts will suffer more damage from this event than either the coaches or the players. You can bank on it. Because racism.

[Darin on September 24, 2015 at 12:09 PM]

It depends. He unduly would if this is just an excuse and it remains the vague, inexplicit they said – he said contest we’ve seen and read about so far.

But I doubt it will stay that way. There were a lot of non-participatory witnesses on the field. What do the Marble Falls players say; did they hear these epithets? How about the other refs?

Then there is the Watts’ history. How long has he been refereeing? If there is a significant history of refereeing, has this issue come up before during games? How does he usually conduct himself on the field?

Then there is the claim of epithets. We haven’t even heard what they allegedly were. Were they actual racial slurs, like using the common racial ethnic labels, or were they Chris Matthews level absurd dogwhistles where every word must be one?

Dusty on September 24, 2015 at 1:22 PM

I’ll pat myself on the back. In sixth grade, we were playing baseball as part of gym class. During practice, I had the ball at first base. The kid at third base was not paying attention to the teacher, who was standing next to me. The teacher told me to throw the ball and hit the kid in the ear. I said “what?” He repeated his order. I purposely threw the ball over the kids head, because I wasn’t going to hit him in the head with a hard ball. The teacher spat out that I missed him on purpose and walked away disgusted. At least I didn’t have that on my conscience.

In sixth grade I would have been 11 or 12. If I knew better at that age, there is no excuse for the two players for their actions despite what they were told to do.

Mallard T. Drake on September 24, 2015 at 1:53 PM

The referee’s bosses could have taken him to task for making racial comments, if that’s the case. It doesn’t excuse trying to seriously injure the guy.

RebeccaH on September 24, 2015 at 1:55 PM

Mallard T. Drake on September 24, 2015 at 1:53 PM

What a horrific story!

Cindy Munford on September 24, 2015 at 1:57 PM

It doesn’t matter if the coach issued the code red. You don’t assault a referee. If the coach tells you to hit a cheerleader with a bat, you don’t do it.

SoulGlo on September 24, 2015 at 2:20 PM

Black and white lives matter!

cbenoistd on September 24, 2015 at 2:29 PM

Duh!
Modesty prevents me from noting who called it first.

corona79 on September 24, 2015 at 2:31 PM

It doesn’t matter if the coach issued the code red. You don’t assault a referee. If the coach tells you to hit a cheerleader with a bat, you don’t do it.

SoulGlo on September 24, 2015 at 2:20 PM

I’m not so sure that those are the rules that apply to Texas high school football.

Happy Nomad on September 24, 2015 at 2:38 PM

If the coach tells you to hit a cheerleader with a bat, you don’t do it.

SoulGlo on September 24, 2015 at 2:20 PM

Exactly..I wouldn’t make any deals with the kids, seems like they already have a solid case.

crco on September 24, 2015 at 3:01 PM

Kids in high school may be hoping for a scholarship or even a career in the NFL and worry about repercussions if they don’t do what a coach says, so it’s tough to blame them to much for doing what a coach tells them to do even if they knew it was wrong (which they most assuredly did), they still deserve some punishment though.

That is pathetic. Yes, you can blame them for doing something that they should know was illegal. They likely knew that it was wrong, but did not care.

What bothers me more is that the head coach and principal, supposedly the adults here, knew about the Asst. Coaches involvement, but said nothing. This makes them accomplices after the fact. They knew, and said and did nothing.

Techster64 on September 24, 2015 at 4:11 PM

.. and it was the umpire who was hit, not the referee

corona79 on September 24, 2015 at 4:42 PM

Col Jessup ordered the Code REad.

But Lcpl Dawson and Pvt Downey were still held accountable for their actions and complicity in the resulting murder and coverup.

catmman on September 24, 2015 at 4:50 PM

Hey, remember that this is ESPN “reporting” this. Has any other source also verified it?

Reason I ask is because ESPN has been known to fail spectacularly in their “reporting” recently (see DeflateGate and the early Chris Mortenson ESPN story that was totally debunked by the NFL itself; Mortenson still refuses to apologize or retract his lie).

Speaking of which, NFL Merchandise has announced the top selling NFL jerseys for the first 2 weeks of this season. Haters Gotta Hate, I guess!

1. Tom Brady
2. Rob Gronkowski

Del Dolemonte on September 24, 2015 at 4:57 PM

So, the kids told the truth about everything–except for the allegation against the umpire?

Sorry, but they are probably telling the truth about him, as well.

Christien on September 24, 2015 at 11:03 PM