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UIL Takes No Action Against John Jay Players But Does Ban Assistant Coach

Ryan E. Poppe
John Jay Principal Robert Harris and Head Football Coach Gary Gutierrez

At a hearing in Round Rock on Thursday, UIL committee members in charge of investigating two John Jay High School football players' intentional hit of a referee earlier this month were able to hear coaches and officials recount the incident.  

Credit Ryan E. Poppe
John Jay HS Principal Robert Harris

John Jay Principal Robert Harris said Assistant Coach Mack Breed told him he was involved with the players hitting referee Robert Watts.

“I did ask him if he directed those students to do what they did, and he said that he did. We had a conversation about that not being appropriate... that’s not who he is as a young man and I advised him that I needed a statement,” Harris said.

In a written statement, Breed’s attorney James Reeves says his client never directly told the players to “hit the ref.” 

The school accepted Breed’s resignation late Wednesday.   

Breed, along with John Jay senior Michael Moreno and sophomore Victor Rojas, were asked to speak, but they declined the UIL’s invitation.    

On Thursday, the UIL banned Breed from coaching until he agrees to meet with the committee.

This week’s hearing comes on the heels of news that the district will keep the two students at an alternative learning center for 75 days.

Credit Ryan E. Poppe
Asst. Coach Mack Breed's attorney Jay Downs

The committee had expected to hear from the official who was hit at the game, Robert Watts. But according Watts’ attorney Jay Downs, his client has been diagnosed with a concussion and was advised not to attend the hearing. Downs passed out Watts' wedding photos which show he and his wife poising with African American friends.

“The fact the he has friends that are different races, I think, would serve to impeach the idea that he would be on a football field liberally throwing [racist] terms around," Downs explained. Some players say Watts used racist language on the field against John Jay players.

The UIL committee wants to hear from the two players as well as Watts before it makes its decision on what should happen to John Jay’s football program. Another hearing is planned for mid-October.