A youth football coach has been banned for life after he hit a player during a game, sending the child to the ground.
The coach, identified as Gerrel Williams by Yahoo Sports, was filmed striking one of his players twice at halftime of the game on Monday at the American Youth Football National Championships in Kissimmee, Florida. Williams was the coach of the Savannah Gators, an under-nines team from Georgia. The first blow was hard enough to knock the child off balance, while the second sent him to the ground.
The AYF has banned Williams for life and said his actions were a “complete breach” of its code of conduct, which prohibits physical and verbal abuse. The victim’s mother did not want to press charges and told the Savannah Morning News “that none of these coaches would harm [the] kids.”
Williams posted an apology on Facebook on Wednesday. “At the end of the day, I apologise to him, the kids, the city … and my family back at home,” he said. “I do apologise. There’s no excuse for my actions. I hope he forgives me, and his parents have forgiven me.”
Williams has also been fired from his job as a counsellor at a Georgia detention centre. “We reviewed the video, we did an internal investigation, we brought him in, we interviewed him, and he is no longer employed,” a spokeswoman for Chatham county sheriff’s office said. “We do not condone that type of behavior.”
A video of the incident on Twitter has been viewed millions of times and caught the attention of figures such as NBA superstar LeBron James. “Ain’t no way!! Couldn’t be my kid. Hell if I there and it’s not even my kid we gone have more than words for sure,” wrote James on Instagram.