A head high school football coach from Ohio wanted to teach a Jewish player a lesson in respect. Because the senior, who was Hebrew Israelite, missed an optional practice, Head coach Marcus Wattley (pictured below) and seven of his assistant coaches ganged up and forced the seventeen-year-old player to eat an entire pepperoni pizza. However, there was a problem. The player’s religion barred him from eating pork and pork products like pepperoni because of his strict beliefs.
Nevertheless, the coach forced the student to teach the pork-laden pizza. The coach was able to persuade the student to break his religion by threatening to put the other players through grueling exercises and drills as punishment. Because the student did not want his peer players to be punished because he missed the optional practice, he broke down and ate the pepperoni pizza.
Allegedly, the coaches allowed the player to remove the slices of pepperoni from the pizza before he was forced to consume the entire thing. He told them about his religion, and they allowed him to remove the slices of pork product instead of ordering him a cheese pizza or another acceptable alternative. The player is confident that the coach and the other leaders on the team were well aware of his religious beliefs and the subsequent restrictions on his diet.
The victim intends to sue the school because of the coach’s abhorrent behavior. The coaches were initially suspended from their positions but have since been fired entirely. The decision to terminate the coaches from their jobs was made by the Canton City School Board, which met on Thursday. They voted 5 to 0 in favor of firing Wattley and six of the offending coaches on the football team.
Superintendent Jeff Talbert said, “This means that these individuals are no longer coaches with the Canton City School District, and they will not be involved in any Canton City Schools Football activity moving forward.”
Talbert confirmed that an investigation was conducted into the coaches’ behavior. The investigation found that there was plentiful evidence to suggest that Wattley and the other thugs “engaged in actions that constituted inappropriate, demeaning, and divisive behavior in a misguided attempt to instill discipline in the student-athletes. This behavior will not be tolerated.”
He added, “The Canton City School District holds our coaching and general staff to the highest professional and ethical standards. Anything short of these standards is unacceptable and will not be permitted.”
Only one of the seven assistant coaches was not fired from his job. It is believed that he might have reported the incident to the school administration, which would have earned him some leniency in punishment.
Wattley has already been replaced as the head football coach. Athletic director Antonio Hall will step in to lead the team at Canton McKinley High School.
Although Wattley and the other coaches have been punished by the school district, the Canton Police Department is still looking into the case. Criminal charges could be coming to Wattley and the others if police and prosecutors feel that there is enough evidence to suggest that the coaches hazed the student-athlete.
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