Mike Vanderjagt, an ex-kicker for the Indianapolis Colts, could lose his part-time coaching job at a middle school, following accusations that he grabbed a student by the neck.
AOL Sporting News reports that Vanderjagt was suspended from his coaching position in the city of Marco Island, Florida, following the March 12th incident, although he reportedly faces no criminal charges.
The Marco charter school board has voted 4-2 for the middle-school’s principal to decide if Vanderjagt, 42, will be reinstated as a part-time coach.
The student in question was reportedly taunting Mike Vanderjagt by saying “Wide left, wide left,” a reference to missing his final kick as an Indianapolis Colt, according to the Detroit Free Press. The ex-kicker missed a field goal late in the 2006 division playoffs against the Steelers; the Colts lost the game 18-21.
Vanderjagt denies he put his had around the boy’s neck, stating instead that he put his hand on the boy’s shoulder, however a fellow student testified to the choking incident. The Detroit Free Press notes that police have not filed charges in the case.
The Naples News reports that:
“The reason he touched the child, Vanderjagt told police, was to hold him in place while he spoke to him. Vanderjagt stated he had no intention of hurting or threatening the student. He also mentioned that George Abounader, the school’s principal, was in the area at the time of the incident.”
They go on to report that the principal, while in the parking lot when the incident occurred, did not see it happen. Brad Wells of Stamped Blue, writes that:
“If Vanderjagt did assault a student for taunting in in a parking lot, he should be fired from coaching. Mike was subject to far worse verbal abuse during his playing career, and he never ran up into the stands and tried to grab any grown men by the throat (for the simple reason that, if he did, he probably wouldn’t make it out of the stands alive).”
Do you think that Mike Vanderjagt really choked a middle school student for taunting him? If so, should he get fired for the incident?
Check out footage of Mike Vanderjagt’s missed kick against the Steelers here: