John Jay Football Players Behind Ref Cheap Shot Defended: 'Criminal Charges Are Way Too Far'

The two John Jay High School (JJHS) football players responsible for a cheap shot on a referee at a recent football game are getting a defense of sorts.

While the move was largely decried as "cowardly" by sports media and even lambasted by many of the JJHS students, who've spoken to the press, some feel that criminal charges against the pair would be taking it "too far."

John Jay student Laila Polendo felt the suspension was good, "but I think people are taking it way too far, like the videos and the criminal charges (are) way too far."

Another student disagreed with the decision the two players made to attack the referee but reminded everyone that the other side of the story isn't known.

"We're being judged by what happened at the football game," Anabel Garza told KSAT. "It was (those) two against, it was with the referee [sic]. We're not even sure what the referee said, so we shouldn't be judged."

"What I heard (was) the referee was being racist," added JJHS student Stefan Muth.

"If they had good reason to do it, I don't really know, but if they didn't, they should be charged or something like that," student Isaac Guevara said to the news site.

Most of the students that KSAT spoke to believe that the referee's words should be a factor in what happens to the two players.

There was also this from Clarissa Delgado.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 4.20.25 PM

See if you think these players had "good reason" to hit a man from a standing position, who wasn't wearing any protective gear, in the video below.

In related news, an assistant coach for John Jay was placed on leave "as school officials investigated his potential involvement in the violent behavior," NBC News reported.

Regardless of what the referee did or didn't say that might have "triggered" the reaction, it's unlikely that the suspended players -- and if involved, the assistant coach -- would see any leniency.

The U.S. doesn't typically allow malicious physical assault as an acceptable reaction to someone else's freedom of speech, regardless of what that speech sounds like.

That's why Marble Falls Police are currently looking into criminal charges against the boys.

Do you think the John Jay High School football players went too far, or are their fellow students right in defending them? Sound off in the comments section below.

[Image via YouTube screen grab, linked above]