What went down?
- A Pennsylvania youth wrestling coach called two black males “thugs” on Facebook after watching a video of them allegedly assaulting a teenager with special learning needs.
- A video shows the victim being kicked in the back and knocked to the ground.
- Ringgold High School football players Dezmier Alize Majors and Tyrese Lamont Youngblood — both 18 and seniors — were charged last month with simple assault against a younger player on the team, the Observer-Reporter said.
How did the district react to the coach’s comments?
- Doug Conroy — the white wrestling coach who made the “thugs” comment — received a letter from school district Superintendent Karen Polkabla saying his words “about Ringgold students” were “inappropriate and racist,” the paper reported.
- So the district banned Conroy’s wrestlers — the Little Rams, consisting of kindergartners through sixth-graders — from using the high school’s facilities until he’s out as coach, the Observer-Reporter added.
- Polkabla on Wednesday didn’t immediately respond to TheBlaze’s request for comment.
How did the coach respond to the ban?
- Conroy stepped aside from his volunteer position so the program could continue and fight the district’s ruling, the paper said — but he’s not being quiet about it.
What else did Conroy say?
- Conroy told KDKA-TV he also said as part of his Facebook comments that the males who carried out the attack “deserve what punishment was coming their way.”
- Conroy added to the station that a “woman who claims to be the aunt of the man I was speaking of said I had come up with a creative way to call her nephew the N-word.”
- “I’ve been labeled a racist and a homophobe, all from the word ‘thug,’” Conroy told WPXI-TV.
- “I have coached for six years young athletes — every race, religion, creed, social background — and never once have I been accused of anything like that,” he added to WPXI.
- “The fact that someone took what I said out of context, viewed it as offensive and tied a color to it is ridiculous to me,” Conroy also told WPXI.
- “I feel the district may have come to a knee-jerk conclusion regarding this matter and sent that letter hastily,” he added to the Observer-Reporter.
- He told KDKA that the district’s decision came without a board meeting or hearing, and that it ends up being a “punishment” for the 60 kids in the wrestling club.
- But he added to the Observer-Reporter that he “will in no way jeopardize a program that serves the youth of our district. Until we resolve this issue, I am no longer a coach or board member.”
- Conroy added to KDKA, however, that he has support from the community through a letter-writing campaign to the superintendent and phone calls to the district.
- The paper said Conroy plans to speak to the school board at its next meeting, which is Oct. 25.
What else do we know about the football players charged in the attack?
- Majors is listed on the team roster as a 6-4, 220-pound tight end, the paper said in an earlier story, and Youngblood is a 6-1, 220-pound running back.
- Youngblood also was charged with harassment in addition to his simple assault charge from the Sept. 13 incident, the Observer-Reporter said.
- Both Youngblood and Majors have a preliminary hearing Oct. 19, the paper added.
- Here’s how the Observer-Reporter described the attack:
Video surveillance at Ringgold High School reportedly shows a member of its football team running about 10 feet before leaping and kicking another player from behind, causing him to fall face-first on asphalt pavement.
Dezmier Alize Majors allegedly kicked Roderick Wilson Jr. in the back with his right foot, hitting him at the base of his neck and propelling him forward at the gate to Joe Montana Stadium following a football practice Sept. 13, the district’s police chief stated in court records.
“The victim did not see or know the accused was coming at him,” district police Chief Clayton Shell stated in court records.
Shortly before that incident at 1 Ram Drive in Carroll Township, the surveillance shows Wilson, 16, of Donora, running out of the locker room being chased by teammate Tyrese Lamont Youngblood, police said.
Youngblood also is shown in the video grabbing Wilson, punching him once in the stomach and kneeing him in the stomach before running back into the team locker room, police allege in an affidavit supporting charges against Youngblood.
What did the father of the assaulted player tell the board after the attack?
- “What was done to my kid was a travesty!” Roderick Wilson told the board last month, WXPI-TV reported in a separate story. “He didn’t even see some of the hits coming.”
- The victim didn’t tell anyone because he was “afraid,” Wilson told the station, adding that “his teammates told him, ‘Don’t snitch.’”
How did the board respond to the father’s complaints?
- One member read a brief statement, WXPI reported: “The Ringgold police and the administration immediately investigated this matter and filed the appropriate criminal charges.”
This story has been updated.