Tim's Take: Assault on referee - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tim's Take: Assault on referee

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Violence came back to our sports fields last week, football's return celebrated as much as anything for the cleat-loosening strikes and angry collisions that have contributed to the games popularity.

But one hit was just sickening.

Two Texas high school football players targeted a referee at their game last week. Hitting him from behind, at full speed, in an act that went well beyond unsportsmanlike.

"It's the most egregious event I've ever witnessed in my 40 years in public education,’’ said Charles Breithaupt, Executive Director of the University Interscholastic League in which the game was played. “It was intentional, it was on purpose, and it seemed premeditated.’’

It was also criminal, a clear case of assault, although school officials and attorneys are still trying to determine that.

The players claimed the referee had used racist language. And an assistant coach from San Antonio's John Jay High School was later suspended for telling the players to hit the ref.

But none of that excuses a decision that was as bad as the hit, high school students old enough to understand the consequences of their actions. And even John Jay fans now say, old enough to take the consequences.

"I don't think they should ever come back on the field,’’ said Reece Whitley, who was at the game. “You just don't do that sort of thing.’’

"I mean,’’ added fan Michelle Jewett, “I hope they don't ever have to play again, they can't play again.’’

The players won't have to worry about football anymore now as the season continues without them.

And that's appropriate. Because this wasn't football. It was something that might get them arrested if they did it on the street, and very well still could now.

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