Report: High school assistant coach admitted to ordering attack

Getty Images

We know it’s not a pro football issue. But we’ve been following the story ever since a pair of high-school players attacked a game official earlier this month, and there’s been another development.

According to John Barr of ESPN, John Jay High School assistant coach Mack Breed has admitted to the school’s principal that he instructed the two players to hit official Robert Watts.

Robert Harris said, per Barr, that Breed admitted providing the directive.

“Coach Breed told me that he directed the students to make the referee pay for his racial comments and calls,” Harris wrote. “He wanted to take full responsibility for his actions. Mr. Breed at one point during our conversation stated that he should have handled the referee himself.”

Some will say that the kids are still responsible for their actions. Those who would say that likely have never played football while under the age of 18. For a kid under 18 who plays football, what the coach says goes. And if you don’t listen to the coach, you’re no longer on the team.

In this specific case, the kids were probably upset already. Which means it was even more important for the adult to act like an adult.

So, yes, the coach is to blame, not the teenagers. And, yes, the coach should be prosecuted for instigating an assault and for contributing to the delinquency of minors or child endangerment or whatever other laws in Texas may have been violated.

88 responses to “Report: High school assistant coach admitted to ordering attack

  1. yeah… I wasn’t there, but I would bet dollars to doughnuts there wasn’t a racial slur made…

    The race card…”works every time”

  2. I agree with the general point about putting the responsibility on the coach, Mike, but there’s just no way to wave away all burden on the kids who were involved. you’re absolutely right that they were between a rock and a hard place, but they ultimately made the wrong decision.

    With that said, they need to throw the book at that P.O.S. coach.

  3. “For a kid under 18 who plays football, what the coach says goes. And if you don’t listen to the coach, you’re no longer on the team.”

    If by the time you’re in high school you don’t understand how wrong it is to assault someone like that then their education is sadly lacking.

    I don’t think there’s a team out there that would drop those kids after it came out that they refuse to assault someone on the coaches orders.

  4. ” Mr. Breed at one point during our conversation stated that he should have handled the referee himself.”

    The coach is wrong obviously, but it really makes you wonder just what exactly the ref was saying the whole game for the coach to say this.

  5. Those two boys are old enough to know right from wrong and good sportsmanship from bad.

    Sure, the coach is ultimately responsible but how do we expect to teach this nation’s youth about doing what’s right when faced with an issue as well as teach them to take responsibility for their actions at all times.

  6. “What the coach says goes”

    Yes, maybe in terms of what plays to run or what technique to use.

    But not to viciously attack someone. What? You think if these kids had done the right thing and ignored their coach on this one, they would’ve kept quiet and their parents would’ve done nothing?

    The coach stinks. And so do those kids.

  7. That is just insane. I mean really.. This “coach” is a clown. If he was that pissed off, maybe he should have just went out on that field and hit the ref himself.

  8. This is such an easy call to make, Max Breed should be fired immediately, served a restraining order not to come within 500 yards of the football practice field or football stadium where they play their home games, and then discipline the two players with this information in mind.

  9. I can’t believe you’re trying to absolve these kids for what they did. So what, they were told to do it. They still could have shown a backbone and said no. And what if they had broken the officials spine? Would you still say they weren’t to blame?
    That’s absurd and totally ridiculous.! You’re absolutely wrong about this, and the legal system will prove it.

  10. “Mr. Breed at one point during our conversation stated that he should have handled the referee himself.”


    The way he handles things, I don’t think that would have gone well for the referee either.

    Guy effectively ordered an assault knowing it would be excessively violent, and carried out.

    Jail time.

  11. The kids were kicked off the team regardless though Florio.

    There’s right and there’s wrong. What they did does not absolve them of blame in this situation.

    I’d rather be kicked off the team for not attacking a referee and actually HAVE the chance to play football elsewhere, than to do so and essentially remove yourself from any chance to play again.

  12. Saying the kids aren’t equally responsible is absolute BS. If by that age, they can’t see that what they chose to do was wrong, then they don’t deserve to play to begin with.

  13. The kids need to be held accountable as well. Reminds me of the Milgram experiment. Yes, the coach is primarily at fault, but the kids need to understand that they are ultimately accountable if they carry out a physical assault for any reason.

  14. Texas high school football. It wouldn’t take a racial slur for people to lose their minds, simply an incorrect holding call.

  15. “… or whatever other laws in Texas may have been violated.”

    They have laws in Texas? Who knew.

  16. the only reason the kids would be “upset” is if you buy the coach’s story that this ref was running around screaming epithets like a raging lunatic. I don’t.

    This is a coward coach that hid behind these kids the last week until he saw which way the wind was blowing, that the race card was his best option.

    what a turd.

  17. So we should just give a pass to the 2 players? At some point, personal accountability matters. That’s one of the very things that high school athletics is supposed to instill.

  18. REALLY ??? If your under 18 you don’t know the difference between right and wrong ???….. Nice try but all party’s involved are guilty no matter what color they are …. No excuses

  19. that heat of the moment decision to give those instructions just ruined/roadblocked the life of both himself and the two kids. it was just a game not even a freaking championship!! idiot!

  20. I am going to make an unpopular comment. I agree their should be punishment to the students and the coach, however, if it is found that the referee did make racially offensive comments to a minor while acting as a referee, then he should be stripped of his ability to referee any further games. Too many times we end up with referees who abuse their power as an authority on the field. This individual has serious issues if the stories of racial slurs is accurate and I view this as no different than fighting back on the streets against someone who is using their authority to abuse others. I know it sounds like I am trying to make the victim the criminal, but in my mind, if he did what is being said he did, then he is a criminal. That behavior is not acceptable at any level and where the students and coach will be punished for what they did, the referee as well should be punished for what he did. If this is another instance where the person with power and money get away with doing wrong and then minors are punished for their response, you looking at an instance where, once again, minorities have a reason to act out in society. Coming from Baltimore where we just went through race riots because of a young black male who was being treated so poorly he perished while in the custody of “authorities with power”, then the response to this should be and could be the same. Is that the result we want?

  21. Just watch a Few Good Men for a similar scenario (I.e. Ordering a Code Red).

    Albeit in this scenario, the “accused” were kids. The laws are different for minors for a reason. I would suspend them, but in no way should they even remotely be prosecuted.

  22. We teach kids to obey and respect authority. They did what they were told to do by someone in authority. Someone who leads and teaches. Now we chastise them for doing what an authoritative figure told them to do.

    Kids do need to respect authority. But they also should be taught that it’s alright to say “no” to an adult when instructed to do something they know is wrong. And not just in a case like this.

  23. Played organized sports as a kid all the way through college.

    At every level I knew right from wrong and knew there were lines you do not cross.

    Waiving all responsibility from these kids is entirely what’s wrong with society today. Everyone wants to blame someone else for their actions.

  24. “For a kid under 18 who plays football, what the coach says goes. And if you don’t listen to the coach, you’re no longer on the team.”

    You mean to tell me just because a high school coach wants me to assault a defenseless person, I should do it to stay on the team? Why not tell the authorities of the coach’s plan and have HIM removed from the team?

    Where has your common sense gone? Really, what kind of authority does a high school coach have?

    The kids are responsible as well as the asst coach.

  25. I don’t condone what the coach did….but it is a old school football mentality. Back in the day when playing Pop warner the other team ran past us doing laps one of the players yelled out a fat slur at me……the coach instructed me to nail # 73’s as* when they ran back towards us. I laid the kid out and it honestly it felt great. Things don’t change, and that was 40 years ago. The funny part was ,there were two # 73’s on the other team and I got the wrong one.

  26. I do not agree that it is a binary decision. I would apportion blame mostly to the coach with some going to the boys. The coach is the adult but the teens should know right from wrong by this point too. After all, What other crime would you absolve them from in a case like this?

  27. Kids should get one game suspension, no legal repercussions, no school suspensions.

    Coach should get full wrath of legal system.

  28. The 2 players are old enough to know right from wrong.They should be charged right along with the Coach.

  29. The school just opened itself up for an easier payment to the ref. I’m surprised the principal went public with the news as it implicates the school district as encouraging the attack.

    That being said, I hope the ref also sues for defamation. There is absolutely no proof for the charges being leveled at him.

    Its time to end these false accusations as an escape clause for inexcusable behavior. Maybe lawsuits will have the effect.

    If you call someone a racist, you better have proof.

  30. Doesn’t matter if a racial slur was used or not.

    In America, we have freedom of speech. You may not like what I say, but you can’t physically attack me for saying it.

  31. Like a judge once asked me, “If someone told you to jump off a cliff, would you?” Idiot kids should be taken to task. Sorry, just not buying this babe in the woods routine of theirs.

  32. this article is correct i got thumbed down for saying what this article says.. you do as your told by your coach.. right or wrong in a football setting.. if you dont your off the team.. im glad that coach stood up took blame cuz its all his fault

  33. Granted that adolescence in America these days lasts till about age forty, you can’t just absolve these two young men of all responsibility for their actions, which would be to deny them their agency, too. They’re 15 and 17, both old enough to know the difference between a good order and a bad one. Is there a harder, faster rule in football–in sports–than don’t ever touch the ref? There’s no way they didn’t know that they were doing wrong. If you want to call the moron coach’s outsized influence on them a mitigating circumstance, okay. But to call them blameless would actually be, weirdly enough, to insult their dignity.

  34. What a sad comment on personal responsibility. Kids their age are charged as adults all the time and absolutely should have known this was wrong and refused. What if they had severed the old guys spine? As for the couch, I fear for his family at home

  35. Nothing is anyone’s own fault anymore. The kids are just as responsible as the coach. If the coach told them to stab or shoot the referee, would they not be responsible either?

  36. Don’t hold the kids responsible? Are you kidding?

    Within the next 2 years they will be considered old enough to be sent over seas with a gun and orders to protect our country but right now because they’re under 18 they shouldn’t be expected to make a rational decision regarding assaulting someone? Give me a break.

    I’m supposed to believe that the players and parents of said players wouldn’t raise a massive issue if the players were removed or even had playing time cut for refusing to assault this man?

    The coach should be permanently banned from all youth sports in the state of Texas and hit with any legal action available. The players should be allowed to stay in school with permanent removal from all sports teams in the school or at any other school and face any charges this ref feels the need to press….and feel lucky that’s all that got. You know, like not getting a murder charge for spearing an old man in the spine.

  37. It’s just like the original Karate Kid, when the Sen Se says “sweep the leg.” Do you really want to blame the kid in that movie because his coach is a dirtbag? Even though these Texas kids are technically guilty of assault and battery, the prosecutor should exercise discretion and only prosecute the adult and give the kids immunity to testify. It’s the right thing to do.

  38. I would think, that under the law they are just as guilty as the coach. If Al Capone ordered someone to go and kill someone, aren’t they guilty too?

  39. The kids aren’t responsible? Of course they are! What kind of peace pipe have you been smoking?

    And *If* this story is true I don’t see how this is going to make the referee any less racist?

  40. Sorry, In High School you know better. I remember a coach telling me to slide cleats up in baseball….I never did. I KNEW IT WAS WRONG! I wasn’t going to injure another person for a game. IN HIGH SCHOOL YOU KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT AND WRONG! What those kids did …even under order…was 100% wrong! They went to kill that guy. Hit him square in his back full speed and the other head first with his helmet. It’s amazing that ref isn’t paralyzed. The kids should be banned from all football for whatever time remains in high school and the coach fired. If that ref was a family member I’d recommend suing the parents, the coach and the school. Get paid! There won’t be a judge or jury that won’t pay him out.

  41. The coach supposedly talked to a third kid who refused to go along. These two kids were all too willing to do this and did it with gusto. Criminal charges should Be brought against all three..

  42. Anyone else on here think BS lawsuits are coming? I’m thinking the parents of the 2 players suing the school for their kids being kicked off the team followed by the coach who ordered it suing the school for being “Wrongfully terminated”.

  43. I need to completely disagree with you. There can be no exception for playing high school football. As a society, we cannot create bubbles where it is okay to get away with assault just because a coach says so.

    Presumably, if these two assaulted a stranger on the street because Uncle Bob told them to, we would not consider them innocent at all. Playing a sport does not circumvent basic right and wrong.

  44. Everybody involved is wrong and should have to face consequences, including the ref. Or does he prefer zebra?

    Using vicious racial slurs toward minors.
    Ordering someone to be viciously injured.
    Viciously injuring someone.

    Three wrongs, no rights. Everyone made their own choice. They all chose wrong.

  45. So you say that the kids are still responsible for their actions. The kids never even had time to process what they were being asked to do and what the repercussions would be from doing it. Suspend them a game or two and let them play again.

  46. HAHA the kids are not to blame?!?!?! Wow. I dont care if i get kicked off the team, im not going to assault someone. If my boss told me to do something like that then id let him firee me- i cant committ the crime and then say “oh well i was told to do it, i had no choice”.

  47. I read there was another player directed to hit the referee, but he refused to do so. I don’t see why these “AP/honors” students are excused they should be smart enough to know better.

  48. He made a couple of bad calls. Doubt there’s more to it than that. The race card is worn out, just like the boy who cried wolf. You’ve overused it and over stayed your welcome in general. Time to sit back down.

  49. Hey xinellum : You beat me to it.

    I don’t understand why people can’t see the forest through the trees here.

    If the ref did as he said, then why isn’t anything being done about that?

    And those of you who have the mindset of “you have to teach the kids to respect authority”, well what if “the authority” has no respect for them. I was always taught that authority is not given, it is earned.

    And if you still don’t get it, Goodell is in authority, how many of you respect him?

  50. The kids are responsible for their actions. If the coach told them to jump off a bridge or kill someone would they do it … of course not. The kids wanted to hit that ref; the coach just gave them permission. The kids should be banned from playing football, period!

  51. The kids are to blame ALSO.

    I played high school football, I know what happens there.

    Accountability is one of the lessons you are taught. If you think the kids aren’t at fault it’s more likely that YOU didn’t play H.S. football.

  52. “For a kid under 18 who plays football, what the coach says goes. And if you don’t listen to the coach, you’re no longer on the team.”

    While I disagree with Florio and believe the kids should know right from wrong and should be held accountable for their actions, I also believe this statement carries a lot of truth. This statement speaks volumes about what might be an even bigger underlying issue with the way coaches treat high school football players (children).

  53. And if their coach had handed them a gun and told them to shoot the Ref, then that would be all on the Coach too, because whatever a coach says needs to be followed regardless — if you want to play football.

  54. The coach should be fired immediately. Both kids should be done with high school sports.

    ALL THREE should be prosecuted on pre-meditated assault charges.

    Regardless of whether racial remarks were made or not, the act does not absolve the actions by these three.

    If there is any proof or other witnesses to the ref saying such things he should be done officiating also.

    I wonder why nobody else has come forward with such allegations though. I would believe that this ref would have previous complaints if that was the case, or other players on the team would have come forward by now. This smells of three people trying to lessen the blow of doing something terribly wrong.

  55. Nice. If there were racial comments made then why is it that the only 2 players that heard them were the players who attacked the ref? none of the other 20+ players on the field heard anything?

  56. Are you telling me there were no black players on the whole other team ? (Let alone non black players that would verify the ref said anything.) Come on. If the referee used racial slurs he should be banned from Texas sports. But there is no corroboration. Its 2015, he would have been thrown out of the association long ago. There is an investigation going on, and the ref may be found to have said something. If he didn’t, even more reason to punish the assistant coach.

  57. So now that the coach admits it was him, lets give the kids involved a pizza party and a participation trophy and tell them how wonderful they really are……….

  58. ‘We where only following orders’…..didn’t work for the Nazi’s, didn’t work for Watergate. Why should it work in this case? I also want to comment on how ‘convenient’ this explanation is at this time. They’re talking about banning the kids for life, banning all the coaching staff for life, AND canceling football forever at that high school. All of a sudden this assistant coach supposedly comes out of nowhere to fall on his sword? Saving the two juvenile delinquents who should be serving time, the coaching staff that should be banned from any interaction with youth in the entire country, and the high school football program.

  59. This coach needs to be put in the middle of the roughest neighborhood in Chicago with $100 bills glued to his body. Let him feel what it is like to be mugged.

  60. The coach and the players were upset at the calls we haven’t heard any confirmation from an outside party that the Ref was yelling out racial slurs. I’m betting he didn’t. I played high school football hockey and baseball and once an asst. football coach told me to try to take out opposing WR knees. I refused and told the HC, where he fired the coach that night or next day. HC even thanked me and spoke to team and other coaches and said that that wouldn’t be tolerated.
    My daughter, a 3 sport HS athlete, and son, 2 sports, currently play HS sports and I have seen nothing but professionalism from the officials in all 5 sports. I highly doubt the story they are peddling.

  61. It’s Texas; it’s illegal to prosecute football players or coaches for any crime less than murder. And in the case of murder, the defendant gets 2 weeks to have the local PD cover it up before an investigation is allowed to begin.

  62. In Texas, football is KING. These boys knew that it they said “no” to a coach, they would lose their positions on the team. Which would be committing social suicide and would probably have caused them added grief at home when they lost their positions on the team. Y’all need to understand the culture in Texas and understand that those kids did NOT feel they COULD say “NO” to any coach who directed them to do something. One of the kids is 14 and the other is 17. For the 17 year old, losing his position on the team would ALSO put in jeopardy any College money he might have been counting on. Yes, the kids “could” have said no. But the PUNISHMENT for saying “no” would have been grossly unfair to them. Either way, they would have wound up off the team.

    And no – I DO NOT think that the Assistant Coach is covering for the kids. I believe that he told them to do it and I believe that they did not feel they had an option to say no.

  63. So now we see the true fruits of High School athletics. Win at any cost and commit felonies if your coach tells you to. What’s next, bounties on opposing team members? Coach was wrong and kids were wrong.

  64. So, yes, the coach is to blame, not the teenagers. ——————–

    you are wrong Mike. yes, the coach is to blame but these two young men should know the difference between right and wrong by their age. if not, they do not deserve to be playing sports. they are just as wrong as the coach.

  65. The most upsetting thing to me is seeing that there continues to be an issue of referees using racial epithets towards high school children. We faced this same problem when I played from1986 to 1990. Whenever coach would question a referee about it of course the would deny it. To my knowledge no action against them was ever taken. If coach would’ve told us to hit the referee to retaliate, most of us would have done it without question.

  66. I, for one, still do not believe the racial aspect that has been conveniently tossed into the mix. At first it was reported that an assistant coach mentioned the “ref needs to be punished for cheating us” allegedly for throwing two players out of game. At first there was no mention of the racial dialog. Once again a man of color is using RACE to somehow justify a criminal act which cheapens those occasions when prejudice truly does exist. The coach AND the players should be prosecuted.

  67. “For a kid under 18 who plays football, what the coach says goes. And if you don’t listen to the coach, you’re no longer on the team.”

    Zu befehl Herr Oberst!

  68. I have played High School football in Texas at that age and only about an hour away from where this incident took place. So I am very familiar with the culture of football and it’s importance in this area. And let me tell you, its big time.

    But to say that only the coach is to blame and not the players because they were only doing what they were told due to the fear of being kicked off the team, firstly sounds like a lawyer, and second clearly does not understand child development.

    At that age, the frontal lobe of the brain, the area that controls cognitive thinking, decision making and judgement, is not fully developed and will not be until about the age of 26. Which means these kids did not fully understand all the consequences of their actions, actions that were given to them as orders. But that absolutely does not mean that the blame does not rest on them. Its very important at that age that they see and go through the consequences of those mistakes to help with that developmental process. Otherwise, they will make an uniformed decision as an adult and suffer even greater consequences.

    I see no better lesson than one that teaches them that your fear of being kicked off a team or fired from a job is not a good enough excuse to do something illegal, not matter your age. And that there are consequences to your actions, even if someone else told you to do it. You can then fight the legality of them kicking you off a team or letting you go of your job, but you can not make the wrong decision and suffer zero consequences.

    As I said, its better to learn the lesson as a kid when consequences are low rather than an adult where there are even worse consequences that have an even greater effect on your life going forward.

    And for the record, I have always stood up and was vocal when I thought I was asked to do something that was not right and to this day I have never been kicked off a team or fired from a job.

  69. Sure hope the assistant coach salary is good. He is going to need a bunch of cash to work this one out by the time he finishes with a criminal trial then the civil lawsuit.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.