As the air has cleared around the San Antonio Jay High School ref attack scandal, the players involved, Michael Moreno and Victor Rojas, have alleged they were just following orders from assistant coach Mack Breed. "This guy needs to pay for cheating us," Breed reportedly said before Moreno and Rojas launched themselves referee Robert Watts' back.
The pair appeared on Good Morning America on Friday and offered further explanation:
Apologies are easy two weeks after the fact and in front of national television cameras; here's hoping the contrition Moreno and Rojas showed Friday morning is genuine.
"(Breed told me) 'You need to hit the ref. He needs to pay the price,'" Moreno said, telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos he had "second thoughts." "...I can't explain it. I was doing what I was told."
"I just realized the gravity of the situation and realized, 'This is actually happening,' and I couldn't fully go through with it," Moreno echoed. "So at the end, I pulled up a lot. It was hard for me, actually doing it."
Watts' attorney denies his client uttered any racial slurs (he is also accused of directing an "n-word" at Jay player Moses Reynolds, who is black. Michael Hernandez, an attorney representing both players, says his clients have learned their lesson. "They have suffered three days of suspension, they have been in alternative school for a week, they are excluded from playing football for the rest of the season," Hernandez said. "I think that's enough. They have apologized. They are sorry. They didn't mean to do this. I think they have been punished fairly enough."
The case is under investigation by the Marble Falls Police Department and the University Interscholastic League. If the players' words are proven true, the brunt of the blame shifts firmly onto Breed. He has since been placed on administrative leave.
Shooting from the hip here: Jail time seems more punitive than anything, but I'm no lawyer, so that's as deep as I'll wade into those waters. What is clear is that both players, Breed, and Watts (if his racial slurs are properly verified) need to be done with high school sports forever. What an ugly situation for all involved.