Footage of a youth football coach hitting a player during a game has caused outrage on social media, while both his and his team’s half-hearted apologies have been met with a fierce backlash.
In the video, which first surfaced online on Wednesday, an adult who appears to be a Pee Wee football coach can be seen yelling and then hitting a kid as he walks off the field at the end of the game.
Multiple reports indicated the incident took place during the American Youth Football National Championship in Kissimmee, Florida. The team in question, meanwhile, is the 9U Savannah Gators, which has subsequently apologized for the action on its Facebook page.
The footage shows players walking towards the coach on the sideline after the game, where the latter proceeds to berate them and slaps the kid wearing the No. 2 jersey through the helmet.
After more yelling, the coach again appears to hit the player, causing him to lose balance and fall to the ground. As the player gets up, the coach grabs him by the helmet and shakes him vigorously, before the kids burst into tears and runs out of shot.
Understandably, video of the incident went viral on social media and immediately caused a stir, with Twitter users calling for the coach in question to be arrested and banned from coaching for life.
LeBron James and FOX Sports host Shannon Sharpe were among the high-profile figures calling out the coach’s actions on social media.
In the wake of the backlash, the Savannah Gators apologized for the incident with a Facebook post that was subsequently deleted.
“Please keep the negative comments off this page please,” the post read, as per Complex and TotalSports.
“This organization has great coaches we understand what we all saw yesterday was disturbing to us all but let’s not blame everyone for one mans actions.
“The organization is not at Nationals we have only two age groups a National 7U & 9U with only those coaches of those age groups. … 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 we understand and we are aware of what’s going on and will like to apologize to the #BigPeachConference…”
The coach, who was identified as Alexis Cobb, posted a video apology on Facebook.
“I’m gonna apologize for my actions about what took place today,” he said. “At the end of the day I am a man and I’m not going to make no excuses for what I did. I was wrong.”
“I shouldn’t have discipled [the child] in public. I should’ve waited till we got back.
“At the end of the day I apologize to him, the kids, the city and my family back at home. I do apologize.”
Among the comments on the Facebook video, one suggested a fellow coach indicated Cobb had been banned from coaching in the AYF for life and was facing charges in Florida.
Neither claim, however, could be verified at the time of writing.