— Education

Football news: High school coach forces Jewish player to eat pork

Seven football coaches at a high school in the US have been fired after allegedly causing a Jewish player to eat pork as a punishment for missing practice due to an injury. Eight football coaches have lost their jobs after allegedly forcing a 17-year-old player to eat pork despite being against his religion. The incident allegedly occurred at McKinley Senior High School in Canton, Ohio, with head coach Marcus Wattley and seven assistant coaches losing their jobs. The group is accused of ordering one of the 17-year-old players to eat a pizza with pepperoni residue on it, despite it being known that eating pork was against his religious beliefs, according to local media outlet the Canton Repository.

After an investigation found he had engaged in “inappropriate, demeaning, and divisive behavior,” the city school board voted Thursday unanimously not to renew Mr. Wattley’s and the seven other assistant coaches’ contracts”. “The investigation found that the identified coaches engaged in actions that constituted inappropriate, demeaning, and divisive behavior in a misguided attempt to instill discipline in the student-athletes,” district Superintendent Jeff Talbert said in a statement.

According to the boy’s family lawyer, Edward Gilbert, the incident occurred after the player missed practice on May 20 due to an injury. Mr. Talbert said the decision to strip the coaches of their jobs was made based on surveillance video of the ordeal, which took place in the school’s gym. “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,” he said.

High school

When the teen returned to practice on May 24, the coaches allegedly told him he had to eat a pepperoni pizza. Otherwise, his teammates would be forced to do extra drills, and he would lose his position on the team. “He believes — and that’s what hurts him so badly — that the coach knew of his beliefs and wanted to punish him, and it’s our view that it was done intentionally and that it was a punitive act,” Mr. Gilbert told the New York Times.

The coach told him that you have to eat the pizza to have respect and stay on the team. Mr. Gilbert said the teenager is now undergoing therapy due to the incident, and his parents have plans to sue the school district. A lawyer for Mr. Wattley, Peter Pattakos, has since come out in defense of his client, claiming the version of events presented to the school board was exaggerated. Mr. Pattakos claimed the student could leave at any time, and Mr. Wattley had offered him chicken nuggets to eat instead after the player said he didn’t eat pork, the Canton Repository reports.

He claims the teenager chose to take the pepperoni off the pizza and eat it.

Mr. Pattakos accused the district of conducting a “rushed and incomplete” investigation. “This community deserves a full and thorough investigation, and it’s obvious that this hasn’t happened,” he said. “There was no intent (to cause harm). He did his best to teach an extraordinary athlete an important lesson.”

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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