Update: Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg announced late Friday night that the district has fired East High School cheerleader coach Ozell Williams for holding teens down and forcing them into painful splits during the team's training camp in June in incidents caught on disturbing video.
In fact, Boasberg expressed regret for not terminating Williams earlier.
“It is also clear that the decision made at that time not to terminate the employment of Mr. Williams was wrong," Boasberg wrote in an email sent to BET.com. "What is shown in the videos is extraordinarily distressing. At that time, the decision should have been made to terminate the employment of the coach and, I believe, to report what was observed on the video to police."
As part of its announcement, the district has also hired an outside law firm, Davis, Graham & Stubbs, to perform an independent investigation of all of the events regarding the "forced splits" of the cheerleaders at the Denver high school. That's in addition to the separate investigation conducted by the Denver Police Department.
After being terminated from his position at East High School, Williams took to his IG and announced that he is postponing all his cheerleading and tumbling activities, while reflecting on the criticism he has received.
Previously: It turns out that the high school cheerleader coach holding down teen students and forcing them into splits actually got fired from a previous job at a different school last year for doing the same thing.
NBC affiliate KUSA, as reported by the New York Daily News, is reporting that coach Ozell Williams, who can be seen holding Ally Wakefield down and forcing her into a split in a now-infamous video, was fired from Boulder High School last year for forcing teens into splits there as well.
Williams, the cheerleader coach at East High School in Denver, has been placed on leave after footage surfaced of him holding 13-year-old Wakefield down, despite her screaming, "No, no, no, no, no! I can't! Please stop. Please stop. Please stop." The Daily Mail reported that Williams has been fired already, but BET.com called Denver Public Schools communications office and a rep confirmed that wasn't true and that Williams remains on leave.
Forcing a split is referred to as "breaking" in cheerleader circles, and the incident was responsible for Wakefield suffering leg injuries.
Despite there being a total of eight videos showing him forcing teens into splits, as reported by the New York Post, Williams vows that the footage has been taken out of context.
“You can definitely say that what was in the video could be seen in a different light,” Williams told the Denver Post. “I would love to tell my story, but I can’t say anything else at this time.”
His history of forcing splits at high schools certainly doesn't help his story. A gym owner also told the Daily Mail that Williams would joke about "punching girls in the face" if they messed up.
Wow. That being said, here's how people are reacting to Williams.
Well, he told them.
That background check protocol might need to be revisited after this.
Got it, Mr. Williams?
(Photo: NBCLA via Facebook)