Michael Moreno and Victor Rojas, two Texas high-school football players who were suspended after video captured them targeting and hitting a referee during the middle of a game, went on “Good Morning America” on Friday and said that Mack Breed, one of their assistant coaches, explicitly told them to hit Robert Watts, the assistant referee. They also alleged that Watts directed racial slurs at their team over the course of the game.
Moreno told GMA that Breed told them to target the refs because of the alleged racial slurs and because of repeated missed calls.
“You need to hit the ref. He needs to pay the price,” Moreno said Breed told him.
When asked why they would follow their coach’s orders if they knew that blindsiding the ref was wrong, Moreno added, “You put your trust into this grown-up, this guardian, your coach – who’s been there for me. … I trust him. I did what I was told.”
Breed, the assistant coach in question, has also been suspended from the team as an official police investigation takes place.
Watts, through his lawyer, has denied using racial slurs.
Moreno and Rojas remain suspended and could face criminal charges for the play.
“Everyone sees me as this thug or this gangster – I did this because I’m this bad guy. That’s not who I am,” Moreno said. “Underneath the helmet and the pads, I’m a great kid.”
Here is the original play:
And here’s the full GMA segment.