Coaches Ousted After Player Says He Was Forced To Eat Pork

Written by on June 4, 2021

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — The pinnacle soccer coach at an Ohio highschool and 6 different coaches there have been ousted after a soccer participant stated he was pressured him to eat pork in violation of his spiritual beliefs for lacking a voluntary exercise.

The Canton Metropolis Board of Schooling voted unanimously Thursday to not renew the teaching contracts of Canton McKinley head soccer coach Marcus Wattley, two of his assistants and an assistant baseball coach, The Canton Repository reported. With the identical vote, the board additionally deemed three different assistant soccer coaches as ineligible for future teaching positions.

The district had suspended the coaches final week after the 17-year-old participant reported what occurred to him on Could 24. One other coach was additionally suspended however he’ll stay as an assistant coach as a result of the proof didn’t present that he carried out in the identical method as the opposite coaches, officers stated.

A lawyer for the teenager participant’s household has introduced plans to sue the varsity district. The participant and his household are members of the Hebrew Israelite spiritual religion and don’t eat pork.

District Superintendent Jeff Talbert stated surveillance video gave directors the knowledge they wanted to warrant their suggestions to the board. Nevertheless, he declined to supply particulars of what occurred and stated the video wouldn’t be publicly launched attributable to federal pupil privateness laws.

Peter Pattakos, an lawyer retained by Wattley, stated particulars of the occasions have been exaggerated and components are false. His statements have been supported by 5 soccer gamers who attended the varsity board assembly in help of the eight coaches.

Pattakos and the scholars stated the participant might have left at any time, including that Wattley supplied the teenager rooster nuggets as an alternative of the pizza after the participant stated he didn’t eat pork. They stated the participant selected to take off the pepperoni and eat it.

Pattakos blamed an assistant coach, whom he didn’t identify, for inflaming the state of affairs by reporting an exaggerated model to directors and the participant’s household. Pattakos additionally blamed the district for conducting a “rushed and incomplete” investigation.

Talbert disputed the claims in regards to the investigation, saying the video gave them sufficient info to find out that the coaches acted inappropriately.

The teenager’s lawyer, Ed Gilbert, stated the participant skipped a voluntary exercise 4 days earlier earlier than the incident whereas nursing a sore shoulder. He was ordered to take a seat in the midst of the health club and eat a complete pepperoni pizza, Gilbert stated. He was allowed to take away the pepperoni and among the cheese, however pork residue remained, Gilbert stated.

The teenager would have been subjected to further drills and his standing on the group may need been jeopardized if he had not adopted Wattley’s order, Gilbert stated.

This story has been corrected to point out the participant is a Hebrew Israelite, not a Hebrew Israeli.

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