Two high school American football players facing possible criminal charges for violently tackling a game official said Friday a coach told them to do it.
Michael Moreno and Victor Rojas, appearing on ABC television’s Good Morning America program with their lawyer, also reiterated claims that the referee in question had used racial slurs — an allegation he has denied.
Video of the incident sparked outrage this month. It clearly shows one player from San Antonio school John Jay blindsiding game official Robert Watts and knocking him to the ground.
A second player then piles onto Watts.
“I was doing what I was told,” Rojas — the first player to hit Watts — told Good Morning America interviewer George Stephanopoulos.
Asked if he would ‘take back the moment’ Rojas replied “Of course, without a thought I would.”
Moreno said he regretted his actions.
“I would apologize for the mistake that I made,” he said.
Neither player named the coach who allegedly told them to take down Watts in the interview.
Assistant coach Mack Breed has been suspended by the Northside Independent School District pending an investigation.
School district officials said on Friday they didn’t know the boys had gone to New York for the interview.
They remain suspended from school and from football pending a disciplinary hearing, and the Texas University Interscholastic League is also investigating the incident.