Pee Wee Coach Charged with Abuse After Hitting Player

Andy Berg Headshot

A Florida youth football coach who was caught on video hitting one of his players twice during a timeout will be charged with child abuse.

The 9U Savannah Gators were playing in the American Youth Football National Championships in Kissimmee, Florida, when their coach appears to get angry at one of his players. As the team huddles with the coach, the coach punches the 9-year-old player. The team then moves further to the sideline, huddles again, and the coach punches the player again, knocking him to the ground. 

The Gators posted an apology after the video drew anger online. The apology, however, didn’t go far enough and was later removed.

“We understand what we all saw yesterday was disturbing to us all but let’s not blame everyone for one mans actions,” the post read. “The guy in the video is our 9U head coach he is a good guy that just took it a little too far on a 9U player.”

According to NBC News, an unidentified person from Maryland shared video of the attack with the sheriff’s office.

"I observed the coach slap the players (sic) helmet with enough force to shift his balance. After a few moments the coach hit the player again in the helmet knocking him to the ground," according to a report written by responding officer Doug Ford, who identified the offending coach as Gerrel Williams.

"After the second hit to the helmet the coach was screaming in the players (sic) face face. Once the coach was done screaming, he shoved the kids (sic) head pushing him of (sic) the field."

Williams has been expelled from the league, but the mother of the player said that she did not want to press charges against Williams. However, the sheriff's office said Saturday that after reviewing the case with the local state attorney's office "the decision has been made that charges for child abuse will be filed."

"The actions of this person are despicable and there is zero tolerance when it comes to the abuse of a child," Major Jacob Ruiz said in a statement.

American Youth Football took credit for sharing the video with the sheriff’s department, noting that Williams has been banned from the organization or any of its events for the rest of his life.

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