SAVANNAH, Ga. – An American Youth Football League coach has been expelled and authorities are investigating after a viral video captured the man striking one of his players multiple times during a national championship game in Florida.
The incident occurred Monday during the league’s AA Division 1 tournament for players aged 7 and younger in Kissimmee, Florida, and the coach has since been identified as Gerrel Williams of the Savannah Gators, WJCL reported.
In a Wednesday statement to the Savannah Morning News through the football team’s Facebook page, a Savannah Gators spokesperson said that “(Williams) was wrong and is fired from this organization’s coaching staff.”
In the video, the coach can be seen on the sideline visibly striking the child’s helmet hard enough to knock the player off balance. A few moments later, Williams can be seen striking the same player a second time, knocking the child to the ground.
Per the incident report, Williams then proceeded to scream in the player’s face before shoving his head to push him off the field, the Morning News reported.
According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, a viewer in Maryland saw the incident play out online and brought the video to the attention of authorities. Williams is now banned from attending league games, WJCL reported.
The incident report also indicates the victim’s mother was contacted by authorities but has declined to press charges against Williams.
Meanwhile, Sheriff John Wilcher told the TV station that Williams was a counselor in the Chatham County detention center, but his employment was terminated Thursday.
“CCSO reviewed the video and we are very disturbed by the actions of Mr. Gerrel Williams. The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office does not condone this behavior,” Wilcher said in a statement released Thursday.
After the incident, Williams issued a public apology via Facebook Live in which he stated: “I am going to apologize for my actions about what took place, but at the end of the day, I am not going to make any excuses for it. I did it.”
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