The two San Antonio high school football players who blindsided a referee during a game earlier this month regret the act, but say they were just carrying out orders from their coach.
In a live interview on Good Morning America on Friday, John Jay High School football players Michael Moreno and Victor Rojas shifted the blame to assistant coach Mack Breed, saying he commanded them to deliver the hit.
“You put your trust into this grown-up, this guardian, your coach, who’s been there for me. ... I trust him. I did what I was told,” Moreno said.
Moreno said Breed pulled him and another player aside and commanded, “You need to hit the ref. He needs to pay the price."
Moreno claims he relayed the message to Rojas and they went through with leveling referee Robert Watts late in the game. Rojas blindsided him with a hit to the back and Moreno added another hit, while Watts was down.
The teenagers stated that Breed wanted them to target Watts because of "unjustified calls" and reiterated that the ref used "racial slurs" against them.
Although Watts, via his attorney, vehemently denied using any racial slurs, Moreno said, "I wouldn't lie about this situation" and "the truth needs to be told."
Breed is currently on paid leave and hasn't commented on the allegations against him. Meanwhile, the teenagers are still suspended from their school and team. The duo still faces the threat of criminal charges for their actions against Watts.
“I would apologize for the mistake that I made,” Rojas said during the interview.
“Everyone sees me as this thug or this gangster, I did this because I’m this bad guy… that’s not who I am,” said Moreno, 17. “Underneath the helmet and the pads, I’m a great kid.”
The school district, where John Jay High School is located, will hold a hearing Wednesday to decide the teens' future. Texas police also continue to investigate the incident.
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