A video filmed at Mustang Stadium in Marble Falls, Texas, that shows unnamed players for San Antonio’s John Jay High School target and then hit a referee, whose back was to them, has gone viral on social media today.
The referee, who is also unnamed, can be seen falling to the field after the first brutal John Jay player hit, after which another John Jay player delivers a second barbaric hit as the referee lies stunned on what iSport reports is artificial turf.
No information has been released regarding injuries the referee sustained. However, taking direct hits from players wearing full equipment, particularly on an artificial surface, could easily have been deadly.
ESPN is reporting that Austin Football Officials secretary Wayne Elliot has stated that the referee is “wanting to press charges,” and that, “The first thing we want is that those two kids never play football again.”
Stan Laing, the Northside Independent School District athletic director was quoted as describing the players’ hit on the referee as “disturbing” and “inexcusable.”
The hits on the referee came in the game’s final minutes as Marble Falls was trying to run down the clock. Two John Jay players were said to have been ejected from the game in previous plays. Marble Falls won the game 15-9.
“I’ve coached 14 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Matt Green, the coach of the Marble Falls team was quoted. Green revealed that John Jay coach Gary Gutierrez apologized for his players’ behavior.
The hit on the referee occurred in a state that is notorious for its mega high school football programs, with stadiums that Cracked describes as being built with a “Roman emperor’s” extravagance. Allen, Texas’ Eagle Stadium was reported by NBC to have cost $60 million to build and could seat 20,000 people — for a high school football team. Katy, Texas’ High School stadium cost $58 million, and Ratliff Stadium in Odessa cost $15 million, adjusted for inflation.
Larger football districts around Dallas and Houston are reported to gross upwards of $2 million each season, with coaches earning “six figures.” Entire towns shut down when the local high school team is playing.
While the hits on the referee are shocking, the Texas high school football program has a long history of brutality. The National Center for Biotechnology Information reported that in the 1990s, Texas high school football players had a 50 percent chance of being injured. ABC reports that there were six deaths among high school football players in 2011.
Cracked describes high school teams courting exceptional players by offering parents lucrative new jobs in their districts to pull players away from other districts, among other spurious accommodations.
Has this environment contributed to these John Jay High School football players decision to each hand out a vicious reprisal hit to a referee that made calls they didn’t like? What seems certain is that these particular players will likely not be seen playing football again and would be considered lucky if they don’t face assault or more serious charges.
[Screenshot Courtesy Greg Gibson/YouTube]