CRAWFORD | Texas prep players suspended, but blows to ref requir - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Texas prep players suspended, but blows to ref require tougher action

Posted: Updated:
AP image. A screen shot of a Texas high school player's hit on a game official Friday night. AP image. A screen shot of a Texas high school player's hit on a game official Friday night.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — By now you’ve seen the video. In the final minute of a high school game in Texas Friday night, two players from John Jay High School go after a referee.

When the play begins, a player identified by the San Antonio News Express as sophomore Victor Rojas heads straight for a game official who is watching the play, and slams into him from behind. A second player, identified by the newspaper as senior Mike Moreno, piles on the official, spearing him with his helmet.

The play came after two of their teammates had been ejected from the game on separate plays in what would be a close loss. Rojas and a teammate (who was mistakenly identified as being involved) were ejected. Moreno stayed in the game, and according to the News Express was penalized for a late hit on the opposing quarterback on the final play of the game.

A day later, both players involved were suspended from the team, and from school. The Texas school district with jurisdiction suspended them from competition, and an investigation has been launched that will interview coaches involved, players, and game officials. Videos of the hits, which have gone viral on the web, were turned over to police.

A friend of the referee told ESPN that he wants to press charges.

He ought to get that chance. I’ve heard a lot of writers and pundits throwing around the word “assault” in reaction to these events.

It might’ve been assault. But it was definitely battery, which is a much more serious charge, especially when coupled with Texas statues that attach special penalties to attacking sports officials.

Whatever charges can be pursued, should be pursued. Whatever penalty can be assessed, should be assessed.

At some point, athletes need to accept that not everything is permissible on the field of play. Defenseless people, umpires, referees, fans, should not be subject to violence from participants. In this instance, only one strike knocks you out.

Secondly, these two need to have played their last football. They can’t be trusted on the field. And the message that would be sent by allowing them to return would signal to anyone else who might have a similar idea that their behavior was, in the end, all right.

I’ve heard people call for canceling the entire season for that team. Bob Valvano, who have have great respect for, made that call in Louisville on his ESPN Radio program Monday. Mike Pereira of Fox Sports made the same point.

I’m not ready to go there yet. We don’t know what was going on with this play. At the moment, there’s no reason to assume any coach involvement. If there were, that would change things considerably. 

The investigation into this has only begun. We should let it run its course. But there’s no reason the legal process can’t go on at the same time that Texas high school sports authorities investigate.

The NFL Referees Association felt strongly enough about what it saw on the video to issue a statement of its own.

“These types of actions against any game official at any level are inexcusable,” it said. “We fully support the suspensions of the players involved, along with a full and complete investigation by the Texas University Interscholastic League.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this in all my years of officiating at the high school, collegiate or professional level,” said Jim Quirk, executive director of the NFLRA.

In this case, it’s essential that the school and state authorities take the kind of authoritative action to help insure none of us ever sees it again.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

  • Sign Up for the WDRB Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Sign Up for WDRB's Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.