Who do you believe?
Are the students lying?
Are the students lying about the coach?
Are the students lying about the ref?
From the NY Daily News:
Texas high school football players say coach told them to tackle referee
Michael Moreno, left, and Victor Rojas said their coach told them to hit the referee.
The Texas high school football players who brutally tackled a referee broke their silence, insisting their assistant coach told them, "You need to hit him.”
Victor Rojas and Michael Moreno said the coach, Mack Breed, told them the referee "needs to pay the price" for hurling racial slurs and making unjustified calls after a safety got injured.
"His emotions just got mixed into it," Moreno said on Good Morning America Friday morning. "He told us to do what we did."
The John Jay High School students were caught on video blindsiding referee Robert Watts during the last minute of a game in San Antonio earlier this month. Rojas slammed Watts in the back and Moreno dove into him on the ground, leading to their suspension. They are now under investigation by authorities.
The teens, who had previously not been named, appeared much less formidable without their padding in their first TV appearance. Rojas spoke so softly he was barely audible.
Rojas said he heard Watts call a black student the n-word and told a Spanish student to "speak English, this is America." The district said it plans to file a complaint against the referee of 14 years with the Texas Association of Sports Officials.
Watts' attorney said the teens were "flat out lying" and the referee is looking into taking legal action.
Breed has been placed on administrative leave after he told players "that guy needs to pay for cheating us" during the game, district officials said. He has not publicly commented on the allegations.
Both boys said they want to apologize for hitting Watts, and Rojas said he "can't explain" how it all happened.
Moreno called the incident "one of my biggest regrets" and one he went through only because he trusted Breed as a "grown-up."
"Everyone sees me as this thug or gangster: I did this because I'm a bad guy. That's not who I am," the aspiring aerospace engineer said. "Underneath the helmet and the pads, I'm really a great kid."
The teens and their attorney, Jesse Hernandez, hope the public and officials will go easy on the Honor Society members. They've already been suspended for three days and had to attend an alternative school for a week.
Moreno has learned "you can't just do that because of something you were told."
"I'm ready to face my consequences," he said. "I am greatly sorry for this and I regret it greatly. I hope people can change their minds about us and the consequences."