This morning on “Good Morning America,” Michael Moreno and Victor Rojas, the high school football players who blindsided a referee during a game earlier this month, said they were following instructions from their coach.
Video of the incident shows the two players going out of their way to collide with the referee during a play. The story got national headlines, and the players were suspended. They could face criminal assault charges.
The teens though, have said they were just following instructions from assistant coach Mack Breed. During the game, Breed pulled Moreno and another player aside and told them “You need to hit the ref. He needs to pay the price,” Moreno said. Moreno passed the message from Breed to Rojas. The third player involved didn’t follow through on the hit, but Moreno and Rojas did.
The official, Robert Watts, was allegedly targeted for missing calls and using racial slurs during the game.
“You put your trust into this grown-up, this guardian, your coach who’s been there for me…I trust him. I did what I was told,” Moreno said.
Since the hit, Breed was placed on administrative leave. He has not commented publicly on his role in the incident.
On “Good Morning America,” both teens apologized to Watts and expressed regret for what they had done.
“I would apologize for the mistake that I made,” Rojas said.
Moreno said that fallout from the incident has left his future plans of becoming an engineer in doubt.
“Everyone sees me as this thug or this gangster, I did this because I’m this bad guy…that’s not who I am,” Moreno said.
Jesse Hernandez, the attorney for the two boys, said that the school district plans to hold a hearing to discuss proper punishment. Expulsion and alternative school are both options. Hernandez believes that his clients have suffered enough punishment already.
“They apologized, they’re sorry. They didn’t mean to do this,” Hernandez said.
Police in Marble Falls, Texas are continuing a criminal investigation into the incident.