Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

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111 Responses

  1. Fixed a formatting glitch.Report

  2. Sam Wilkinson says:

    1. It might very well be criminal assault.

    2. The players are claiming that this referee was dropping racial slurs during the game. That doesn’t justify the behavior obviously, but it seems easy to imagine this situation getting worse? (For example: are these two high schools with wildly different demographics?)Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

      While this attack is pretty much inexcusable, it’s certainly different from structural racism.Report

      • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird says:

        I have no idea what you’re talking about.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

          That while this one attack was an isolated incident of an awful thing, structural racism affects millions of people.

          If you have no idea of what I’m talking about, you need to leave your little ivory tower and seriously raise your awareness.Report

          • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird says:

            I have no idea what you’re talking about here either. I’d swear it’s trolling but I’m happy to admit that I’m missing something.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

              For what it’s worth, the news media is doing a spectacular job covering up the referee’s racism.

              They’re all talking about how the players were upset about some bad calls the ref made. I can’t find a single news story willing to tell the truth here.

              NPR is covering it up. ABC is covering it up. ESPN is covering it up.

              I googled for the truth and Google wasn’t helpful either.

              Now I’m wondering whether the coach also said some things about Same-Sex Marriage.

              You’d have to be a fool to not notice the timing of this alleged tackling of an official and the Davis goings-on in Kentucky.

              Not that the ref’s theoretical homophobia would justify the alleged attack, of course.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Oh, good. NPR updated it.

                Update at 2:25 p.m. ET: Players Allege Goading By Coach And Racial Epithets By Official

                Providing more details about Friday night’s game, Northside Independent School District Superintendent Brian Woods says, “the incident is shameful and deeply revolting.”

                Woods and the district’s athletic director, Stan Laing, addressed the media Tuesday afternoon, providing new details — including two allegations:
                *The John Jay players’ claim that assistant coach Mack Breed, 29, told them “that guy needs to pay for cheating us” or a similar statement.
                *The players say an official had used racial epithets on the field before the back judge was hit.

                Breed, who coaches the secondary, is currently on paid administrative leave. The players who hit the official face the possibility of being expelled, among other disciplinary measures.

                “We’re obligated to use this as a teachable moment,” Laing said. And he said that the lesson here might be, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

                The NISD officials said they’re filing a complaint with the officials’ association over the alleged use of racial slurs.

                Woods and Laing expressed confidence that the incident doesn’t reflect the attitude of head coach Gary Gutierrez; Woods later added that there are no plans to cancel the team’s season.

              • Doctor Jay in reply to Jaybird says:

                Again the quote is, “The players say an official had used racial epithets on the field”. Not “the” official, but “an” official. The fact that the dots aren’t connected makes me wonder what the hell was going on.

                I don’t endorse blindsiding the guy for calling someone a “nigger”. Suing them, hell yes. Drumming them out of the football business, absolutely. But I certainly don’t endorse them blindsiding one guy for a bad call and for some other referee calling someone a “nigger”.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Doctor Jay says:

                The referee, of course, is denying that he used racial slurs and is lawyering up in the exact way that a racist who regularly used racial slurs against high school football players *WOULD* do.Report

        • greginak in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

          Well it’s definitely not trolling. I’m sure of that.Report

          • Guy in reply to greginak says:

            Huh. It reads almost exactly like the sarcastic “your pain is real, but it’s not structural oppression” stuff that I saw in the wake of the Scott Aaronson thing. Poe’s Law, I guess.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

      Question for the legal eagles: if the ref was in fact dropping racial slurs, I assume those could be considered “fighting words”. I know that fighting words may not be 1st Amendment covered, but can they also be considered a mitigating factor in a battery case like this?

      Or is battery battery, no matter what the ref might have been saying beforehand?Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Glyph says:

        Let’s try this Socratically.

        Put yourself in the jury room. The defense is “Yeah, I did blindside that referee, intentionally. But he dropped the n-bomb on my teammate just a moment before.”

        Would you vote to convict, or to acquit? There are no other alternatives. You must vote for one or the other alternative.Report

        • Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Sounds like battery is battery. The only way I can connect my fist to your nose and not be charged with battery, is if I can successfully claim self-defense?

          It just seems clear to me that if I walk into a black bar and start dropping N-bombs, and am lucky enough to only get popped in the nose, people are not going to be very sympathetic to my claim of battery, even if I did not swing first. So I was wondering if there were any “fighting word” or “incitement” type mitigators.

          (And hitting this guy from behind is actually probably a lot more dangerous than popping him in the nose).Report

        • Hoosegow Flask in reply to Burt Likko says:

          The players should have accused the ref of messing with Texas. They seem to take that very seriously down there.Report

        • veronica d in reply to Burt Likko says:

          @burt-likko — I assume the judge would tell me whether I should consider racial slurs as a mitigating factor. I would certainly be sympathetic, but ultimately I would participate in deliberation and hopefully arrive at the facts.

          I expect any mitigation would occur during sentencing.

          Note, I was a juror for a rape case once. I’ve handled a tougher job than this one will likely be.Report

      • notme in reply to Glyph says:

        They could be BUT it is hard to get any traction for that argument if instead of immediately reacting when he said the words they waited until they lined up in formation and hit him after the play started.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Glyph says:

        I have to agree with notme, the fact that they obviously stepped back & planned the hit removes the fighting words mitigation.Report

    • Chris in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

      Yes, the schools have different demographics. Marble Falls is a small, mostly white suburb of Austin in the Hill Country. The school from which the two kids came is in San Antonio.Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

      The writer of the story is very careful to not claim that the referee that was hit was the one making the racial slurs. I don’t know what to make of that, but it’s there. I feel there’s more about this story I’d like to know, but that doesn’t really change whether it was criminal assault or not.Report

  3. Stillwater says:

    Yeah, I agree, I think it warrants some criminal charges as well.

    Alsotoo, I think this is one of those “Did you authorize the Code Red?” sorta things. If the coach is any kind of disciplinarian at all (and he’s a Head Ball Coach!, in Texas!!), then those kids prolly weren’t free lancing. Someone needs to get him babbling enough to set the trap: “You’re goddam right I did!”Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

      The phrasing that gets mentioned in the articles is more of the form “will no one rid me of this meddling referee?”

      The degree to which this provides plausible deniability is left as an exercise to the reader.

      Especially since it also came out that the ref used racial slurs.Report

      • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        Hopefully the investigations will sort all this out, and the anti-racists and the anti-anti-racists can move on to the next case to make assumptions about.

        The comments on some of the stories about the incident, though… The internet has caused me to lose so much of my faith in humanity.Report

        • greginak in reply to Chris says:

          I’m sure we can agree that the problem is liberals made the word racist radioactive.Report

        • Slade the Leveller in reply to Chris says:

          As a high school football official, I’ve been following this story quite closely. I was telling my wife about following a FB link to a video and story when this first broke. I watched the footage, and read the text, which, as is often the case these days, a paragraph or two which added just about nothing of value.

          Scrolling down to read the comments I was struck by the throw the book at them mentality. Prison, school suspension,etc. were all mentioned with fair regularity. Eventually, it became Obama’s fault. Upon seeing that I scrolled to the top to see where the hell I was. Yep, Fox News.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

          We all need to stay on top of the investigations to find out at what point the ref ceased calling the players racial slurs and whether it was the moment he got attacked or if even that wasn’t sufficient negative re-enforcement to get him to stop doing it.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

            Just let us know when you’ve officially claimed the moral high ground so we can stop trying to pick through your riddles.

            We get it. You’ve reached the breaking point with pretending to care about racismReport

            • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

              Ahh. Now I get it. He’s playing up the racial slurs angle cuz he thinks that oughta move (certain) {types of} [ideologically inclined] people into exonerating the kids. I think that’s it, anyway.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                Actually, I think Jay just likes to slip into the meta meta META racism topic because A) it doesn’t involve him actually discussing things and B) it distracts from an actual conversation about racism.

                I mean, look at his first response to Sam… he immediately jumped to some unrelated reference to structural racism, seemingly in a sarcastic tone, than actually address what the allegations Sam mentioned might have to do with our understanding of and response to the boys’ actions.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                Even at that point he was already way ahead of the game, Kazzy. I won’t say any more, since it’s his shtick. But it’s a good angle to push on, seems to me. (Push people on.)Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:


                What game?

                The “Let’s actually discuss the topic is an open, mature, and frank way in the pursuit of increased understanding” game?

                Or the “Win the internet argument” game?

                Jay’s comments generally seem much more geared toward the latter, which actively harms the ability to do the former.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                The game I mentioned two comments upthread. Well, what I said wasn’t the game part. Just the content part. The game itself is a whole nother thing.Report

              • Like Slim Charles said, “Game’s the same, just got more meta.”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                When I first saw this story, I thought it was an example of crazy showing up in high school sports yet again. “Florida Man tackled by High School Students”.

                A novelty. My thoughts on it was something like “okay, the kids will get cut from the team, they’ll be lucky if the ref doesn’t press charges, they’ve effectively screwed up the rest of their high school career but maybe, if they’re lucky, they’ll get to play in college.”

                But then… the topic changed.

                Now it’s a story that rings like the bell that was the Kim Davis story all over again.

                Let’s not talk about the specifics of what was done and what we have evidence of having been done, but the general wickedness that created a situation where doing something like this would make sense.

                I’m now googling “Robert Watts” and clicking the news tab just to see whether there are any articles titled “Fellow Teacher At John Jay High School Admits Coach Used Racial Slurs In Private Conversation” and none have shown up yet.

                Maybe tomorrow.

                Of course, of all the days for a guy named “Robert Watts” to be arrested in Connecticut for allegedly exposing himself alongside a bus, wouldn’t you know that it’d be 4 days ago.

                So now we get to hold our breath while waiting for an article that interviews someone who works with Robert Watts because this is no longer a novelty story about high school football, but a story about America.Report

              • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

                It seems like your position would be, let’s let this play out and figure out both what happened and what the consequences should be for everyone involved.

                We know so far what the kids did, that their playing days are over, and that they’ll likely finish the school year, if not school altogether, in the disciplinary school. We don’t know whether they’ll be charged, but the police are investigating. We don’t know what the coach said, but the school and district are investigating. We don’t know what the ref(s) said or did, but UIL is investigating. Maybe if we all, and this includes you, take a step back, and a deep breath, and quit pretending we know any more than I said we know above, we’ll all come out of this not looking like asses.

                Though I agree with Slade and Kazzy, these kids lives should not be ruined, regardless of what the refs said or didn’t say.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

                FWIW, I think Jaybird’s position is that the football stuff has become increasingly irrelevant. Now, that may or may not be true, but I think that’s what he’s gettin on about.Report

              • Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yeah, and my point is that that’s what we know the least about, so let’s all simmer down.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

                let’s let this play out and figure out both what happened and what the consequences should be for everyone involved.

                How in the flying hell are we going to figure out what happened?

                Either Robert Watts used racial slurs in the teacher’s lounge (do they let refs in there?) or he didn’t.

                And if he did we know that he used them on the field that day.

                And if he didn’t we still don’t know whether or not he used them on the field that day.

                We just know that this is a story about a referee who was tackled in a game where a rich high school was playing against a poor one and the referee was rich and the kids who tackled him were poor and we’re trying to figure out if there’s proof that he caused this to happen or whether we’ll never know.Report

              • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

                Wait, Marble Falls is rich?

                I guess we know even less than I thought.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

                Burnett County has a higher per capita than San Antonio County. (Numbers from the 2000 census)

                About 7.90% of families and 10.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.50% of those under age 18 and 7.90% of those age 65 or over.


                Of the total population, 24.3% of those under the age of 18 and 13.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

                I’m assuming that the “under the age of 18” numbers are the relevant ones for the use of this particular comparison. (I don’t know where to get better numbers on short notice.)Report

              • Chris in reply to Chris says:

                By the way, looking at the news, it sure looks like it’s still mostly about the kids.

                Also, I once dated a wonderful woman who lived in Marble Falls, and I spent a whole lot of time there. Rich is not the word I’d used to describe it. Small, almost rural, working class, nicer people than in Austin, very conservative, very plain folk, almost like an animated stereotype of a small town.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

                You’re right. I should have said “privileged”.

                I retract “rich”.Report

              • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

                Burnet County is not Marble Falls. It’s also the wealthy incorporated, gated communities, the wealthy ranches and highland B&Bs in and around the city if Burnet, and more. The median income in Marble Falls is 34,111 (2013 numbers). John Jay HS’ zipcode’s median income is 38,333 (also as of 2013).

                You seem to have created an argument you can imagine people making, imagined they’re making it, and then protected it onto the world and maybe even people here. I can’t, for the life of me, fathom why.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

                As I said before, I thought that the numbers involving percentage of minors below the poverty line were the ones most relevant to comparison of the high schools. Medians, after all, can be skewed by the gated-community types.Report

              • Guy in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Medians, after all, can be skewed by the gated-community types.”

                No, that would be means (that can be skewed by a small minority of highly divergent examples).Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

                “You seem to have created an argument you can imagine people making, imagined they’re making it, and then protected it onto the world and maybe even people here. I can’t, for the life of me, fathom why.”

                This. Well said.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

                @chris I will confess that I figured Marble Falls was rich because they managed to hire Todd Dodge.

                Only for a couple years, though, it turns out.Report

              • Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

                When I used to hang out there, the woman I was dating lived on the lake (which is beautiful), in a medium-sized one-bedroom for about a third of what I was paying for a smaller place nowhere near the water in a notoriously bad neighborhood in Austin. And her’s was a house.

                It’s a wonderful little town if you can handle the littleness and the extreme Texas-ness. The lake is beautiful, the hills are beautiful, and the chicken fried steaks are beautiful. It ain’t wealthy, though it is pretty white.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:


                Here’s the problem… you jump to conclusions and then get all huffy that people made you jump to conclusions. Sam shared that the players allege racial slurs were used by a (the?) ref. Naturally, people are going to want to get to the bottom of that. To some extent, that takes some attention and energy away from discussing other matters related to the incident. And if the allegations prove false, well, that is a frustrating fools errand to have gone on. But folks who are facing harsh consequences for bad actions often look for — or even make up — justifications for their behavior. Now, false allegations of racism can be deeply damaging to anti-racist efforts. So they can be uniquely frustrating.

                But… I don’t think that is your true objection. I think you want to talk about this one way and you get real upset that other people might want to talk about it another way. No one that I have read says the entire conversation is about race. Sam simply shared another fact of the case (the fact being that the kids claim a (the?) ref said these things). Should we ignore this fact entirely because it changes the conversation? That feels really, really silly.

                Rather than engage with Sam or the fact that he shared, you jumped to all sorts of weird meta places about how these conversations tend to go and, for what, to discourage people like same from sharing the information that he shared? Should Sam have vetted the kids’ allegations before sharing that they made them? How should he have gone about doing that?

                I mean, seriously, what are your actual, honest, non-riddled feelings on Sam sharing what he shared?Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                A good way to make sure people don’t talk about things you don’t like talking about is to shame or mock them for talking about them before they’ve even really done so.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

                Chris, I assure you, people will be talking about this *WHETHER OR NOT* I talked about it first.Report

              • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

                Then it seems like it might be a good idea to talk about what they’re going to talk about, at least in addition to, if not in lieu of (please, make it in lieu of) what they will be talking about at some point, doesn’t it? It’s gotta be better than merely having a talking about people talking about things in a way that people are not, currently, talking about it, doesn’t it? I mean, people were talking about all aspects of the case, and you seem to have jumped in to accuse future versions of those people, or people like them, of changing the subject by only talking about certain aspects, the aspects you feel are less important. That just doesn’t seem to lead anywhere except here, which is to say, people talking about you, instead of talking about all aspects of the case, as they were before.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                What is the proposition that one could have a true objection to, after watching this video? Indeed, what is the argument?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                “I’m now googling “Robert Watts” and clicking the news tab just to see whether there are any articles titled “Fellow Teacher At John Jay High School Admits Coach Used Racial Slurs In Private Conversation” and none have shown up yet.”

                That seems to be a ‘you’ problem. Not an ‘everyone’ problem.Report

          • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

            Like I said.Report

        • Dave in reply to Chris says:


          I made the mistake of reading a comments section for an article about the proposed settlement over the death of Freddie Grey.

          Thankfully, I have no faith in humanity.Report

          • Kim in reply to Dave says:

            How can you not have faith in humanity?
            It is by looking into the darkest depths of the soul that we remember the sunshine at our backs.

            Knowing what people are capable of is an excellent reminder of exactly how good humanity is.

            Solar Freakin’ RoadwaysReport

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kim says:

              Solar Freakin’ Roadways are not happening, not in our lifetime, probably not in any lifetime.Report

              • Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                yes, I do get the joke.

                Though there are plenty of people who don’t get the joke, despite it being explained to them (Repeatedly!).

                Most businessmen aren’t scammers. Most people don’t get off on fucking underage children. Most people don’t murder their high school classmates years later simply because they can.

                My belief in humanity is brought about by being willing to face exactly how ugly the worst of us can be — and then remembering we ain’t all like that.Report

              • Oscar Gordon, of all people, is dissing RAH?Report

              • Kim in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Wrong SciFi author
                (Heinlein’s dead, he has to be the wrong guy…
                couldn’t possibly be responsible for this fiasco…)Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Kim says:

                I believe Mike’s referring to Heinlein’s roadtowns, which are powered by “Douglas-Martin solar receptor screens”, ie, cheap highly-efficient solar panels. I don’t think Heinlein placed the solar panels on the surface of the moving roadways themselves, but I could be wrong about that.

                And “Oscar Gordon” is, of course, the lead character in Glory Road.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Michael has the right of it. The roads were rolling, and covered by solar panels that kept the rain off travelers of the rolling roadways.

                As for dissing RAH, I’m an engineer before I’m a SciFi Fan, and RAH got it wrong more than a few times (although to be fair he was a man of his time and we’ve learned a lot since then).Report

              • Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Putting the solar panels above the travelers heads is probably workable. Certainly they’re doing it to parking lots…Report

          • Chris in reply to Dave says:

            You, sir, are a brave man.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Stillwater says:

      Coach Taylor would have never let this happen.Report

  4. Slade the Leveller says:

    I’m pretty dismayed by this whole story. I don’t know if we’ll ever know the whole truth about what prompted this attack on the official, but I have to think that something like this did not happen unprovoked. I’ve seen my share of nasty stuff go on during a football game, but to have something like this boil over just beggars the imagination.

    Even more staggering is the willingness of many internet commenters, including many of my fellow officials, to throw the book at these kids. Should they be punished for their actions? Of course. I doubt they’ll ever play another down of organized football, unless one of them is SEC material, that is. But talk of jail time, to me, is just beyond the pale. Making a 16 or 17 year old kid pay a steep price for the rest of his life for a momentary indiscretion, with no apparent ill consequence for the victim, at least physically, is indicative of where our society is going off the rails.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

      Well, I hear ya about calling for excessive punishment and all. But I’m pretty much on board with (for example) hockey players being charged with assault in certain circumstances (like what Bertuzzi did to the Colorado Avalanche player a handful of years ago). So I’m pretty comfortable with that rationale applying here. Just because you’re on the field in uniform playing a game doesn’t mean normal assault laws shouldn’t apply. They should, seems to me.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:


        Yes but Bertuzzi was an adult.

        It is possible that involve the court system is appropriate here, though we really, REALLY need to leave juveniles to the juvenile system (and, oh yea, revamp the juvenile system). @chris can probably speak to this better, but from what I understand some pretty core parts of the brain — including many of those related to executive functioning — are not fully formed until the mid-20’s in most people. So saying that these kids should have known better or should have controlled themselves might very well be asking them to do the impossible, at least from a cognitive functioning standpoint. And before you point out all the kids who don’t do this, I’m not saying that it is impossible for teens and 20-somethings to not blindside referees. I’m saying that everyone’s brain develops differently — in part as a response to the “training” it receives — and it is very possible that some older teenagers and younger 20-somethings have brains that are non-adult and treating them as such in the eyes of the law is wrong. That doesn’t mean their actions should be ignored, but we need to stop treating younger and younger kids as adults because it satisfies a bloodlust.

        And if I may get up further on my soap box, why, why, WHY do we think that the best way to punish kids is to throw them out of school? What do we think is going to happen?Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:


          Kazzy, look, my own view is that they assaulted that dude. Therefore!, they should be charged with whatever a kid their age would be charged with.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:


            The problem is that, at this point, kids their age are treated and charged as adults by the system. Especially if they are Black and male. Hell, kids much younger than them often end up in adult court… again, disproportionately true for Black boys.

            I’m okay with treating them the way we treat two rich white kids who engage in fisticuffs*. I’m not okay with treating them the way we tend to treat young Black boys who run afoul of the law… like hardened adult criminals deserving of the harshest punishment.

            * I’m okay if we stop short of allowing them the Affluenza defense.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:


              I hear ya!Report

            • Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

              Question: from a legal (and moral) angle, do you see any difference between “fisticuffs” (which I take to mean two or more people intentionally bare-knuckle brawling with each other, and a pretty common occurrence) and tackling an unaware person by surprise from behind, while you are wearing protective gear and helmets and they aren’t?

              Should there be any difference?

              I realize people can get seriously hurt or killed any time they are fighting; but doing what they did from behind seems even more dangerous than usual to me, in terms of possible back/neck/organ injuries to the victim (the second hit appears to be pretty much with the helmet – could that be considered a “weapon”?). Is the ref more-or-less OK?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:


                I’d actually agree that a mutually agreed upon physical altercation is different than what happened here. So, yea, not a perfect comparison.

                Going off topic, I’m actually of the believe that it really isn’t anyone’s business if two consenting adults decide they want to pummel each other, even if they are motivated by hostility or animus. Where problems arise is that it is very likely at some point during the altercation one will cease to consent and his opponent is unlikely to abide by the sorts of rules that separate playful wrestling from a street fight. We could say, ‘Hey, man, you started the fight…’ but that seems like poor policy especially because of how it can be twisted (‘Hey, lady, you did dance with the guy…’).

                So, yea, I see your point, but I think my broader point still stands.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

                I guess what I am getting at is that in my mind, two boys fighting each other, is two boys fighting each other, and should probably be treated one way.

                Two boys jumping somebody else from behind, while in some way “armed”, is at least potentially something else.

                What if the ref had been a little old lady?

                We wouldn’t just think “hey, that’s just old-fashioned fisticuffs, you know that boys will be boys.”

                But I never played football, so maybe I overestimate the damage they could have done. I just assume all those pads and helmets are there for a reason.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:


                I concede that the situations are different. My point is that I think two white kids bilndsiding a ref would be treated differently than two Black kids doing the same. And that is highly objectionable. I don’t have links handy but there is some real data about the way our court system treats Black boys when it comes to trying them as adults or children.

                I mean, the kid with the ‘affluenza’ thing killed four people and received no jail time. Compared to that, the idea of these kids even facing jail time seems insane.Report

              • notme in reply to Kazzy says:

                You are certainly welcome to your opinion however unsupported by fact. These kids can try the affluenza if they want.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Kazzy says:

                The Ethan Couch case is a pretty bad example, for a couple reasons. In general, homicides resulting from negligence and recklessness are treated less harshly than intentional violent crimes, even ones with less severe consequences.

                Also, Couch’s sentence was widely condemned as being excessively lenient from pretty much every point on the ideological spectrum. I think you would be hard-pressed to find anyone calling for prison sentences in this case who also opposed prison for Couch.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg says:


                And yet, Couch is walking the streets. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but eventually we need to look at the system (and people are looking at the system and finding quantifiable differences in how we treat Black boys and white boys) and realize how fucked up it is.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Are there any cases where two white guys blindsided a ref (or one, maybe)? Could we compare to what happened there?

                It’s Texas, after all. There must be examples that we can compare to.Report

      • Slade the Leveller in reply to Stillwater says:

        Perhaps I buried the lede too deep. Studies have shown the teenage brain, especially those of males, lacks a certain degree of impulse control. I hope we can agree that this was, without a doubt, a bad impulse gone horribly wrong. I’m not saying their actions should be consequence free, just that charging them with a crime is overdoing it.Report

        • notme in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

          So if no crime what then. Give them a stern talking to and a hug?Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

          Slade the Leveller,

          What that research shows is that they perform worse on a certain type of test that requires distinguishing between two types of stimuli and acting accordingly under very tight time constraints.

          This was a premeditated act of violence in which they had orders of magnitude more time to make a decision. To characterize the connection between the two as “speculative” would be generous.Report

          • Slade the Leveller in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            @brandon-berg I don’t know how long this hit was brewing, but in high school there are only about 30-45 seconds between plays.

            When I think back on my teenage years I shudder to think of some of the incredibly stupid things I did. And I was one of the good, quiet kids.

            Was the hit heinous? No doubt. As I said above, I’m a high school football official, and discussion groups are ablaze over this. But I’m also not inclined to throw 2 teenage boys who probably can’t think past the end of their dicks on a Friday night to the tender mercies of the Texas judicial system.Report

    • notme in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

      Must the ref be crippled before you care?Report

      • Hoosegow Flask in reply to notme says:

        Should we, as a society, just complete write off those two young men now? Give them felony convictions and send them to prison instead of finishing high school, all but guaranteeing them dismal job prospects for the rest of their lives?Report

        • Murali in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

          Should we, as a society, just complete write off those two young men now? Give them felony convictions and send them to prison instead of finishing high school, all but guaranteeing them dismal job prospects for the rest of their lives?

          Yes? Because anything less gives highschool sportsmen (an already highly privileged and entitled group) the impression that its ok to use violence against others as long as you are part of the popular clique. Let them go with just a slap on the wrist (and never being able to play professional football again is a slap on the wrist) perpetuates all sorts of bad incentives. Imagine that instead of assaulting a coach, they get drunk and rape someone during the after party. Would it still be wrong to send them to prison and thus write them off, all but guaranteeing them dismal job prospects for the rest of their lives?

          Also, yes because they deserve it. Think about what would it would be like if there were no permanent consequences for their actions. Would it not be manifestly unjust if they had the life prospects even though they did, premeditatedly, assault the official?Report

          • Hoosegow Flask in reply to Murali says:

            I’m not necessarily saying you’re wrong, but with both the highest incarceration rate and the highest prison population, I think the US really needs to rethink its criminal justice system.

            And not just the direct punishment (which I think needs signficant change), but also the lingering effects and (lack of) reintegration into society. Is the “greater good” served if these players wind up a net drain on society?Report

            • notme in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:


              We keep hearing from liberals that only violent criminals should go to jail, right? Weren’t these guys deliberate and violent in their attack on the ref?Report

              • Hoosegow Flask in reply to notme says:

                I don’t necessarily think that only violent criminals should go to jail or that jail should necessarily be the first resort in the case of violent crime. I know nothing about the players, including whether or not they have a history of violent acts. It seems to me there are other alternatives before reaching the point of sending them to jail. Such as restitution, suspended sentences, community service, fines, etc., along with later sealing their juvenile records (assuming they’re currently still under 18).Report

              • notme in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

                Just how violent does someone have to be before you think jail is the right answer, cripple someone or kill them? You talk about the the “greater good” not being served if these players wind up a net drain on society as a reason not to send them to jail. What good is served by them being violent and not going to jail? What kind of a message is sent to the rest of us if violent criminals aren’t sent to jail?Report

            • Murali in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

              Well, I think you are treating symptoms and not the causes. If doing away with victimless crimes would make a significant dent on the incarceration rates, I would say that’s your problem right there. But I think I came across a link some time ago saying that non-violent criminals made up only a small portion of convicts. I think there are deeper issues with regards to aggression and how americans deal with it that cause the incarceration levels to be so high. On the one hand, we shouldn’t punish people in excess of the crime. However, neither is it wise or just to underpunish. Part of what it means to live in a society that one believes (rightly) to be fair is knowing that one is punished if and only if and only to the extent that one inflicts harms on others*.

              *The other part is knowing that one receives benefits from others to the extent that one marginally benefits them. While it is impossible to achieve this perfectly, coming close to it nevertheless makes living in a society and complying with its rules less burdensome.Report

        • notme in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

          Ignoring your hyperbole about “writing those young men off,” my answer is that those two should face appropriate criminal charges for their actions and get whatever punishment a jury decides.Report

  5. Brandon Berg says:

    Not actually relevant here, but when I looked up the relevant Texas law (which I believe would make this a class A misdemeanor), I was surprised to find that sports participants are a protected class:

    An offense under Subsection (a)(2) or (3) is a Class C misdemeanor, except that the offense is:
    (1) a Class A misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (a)(3) against an elderly individual or disabled individual, as those terms are defined by Section 22.04; or
    (2) a Class B misdemeanor if the offense is committed by a person who is not a sports participant against a person the actor knows is a sports participant either:
    (A) while the participant is performing duties or responsibilities in the participant’s capacity as a sports participant; or
    (B) in retaliation for or on account of the participant’s performance of a duty or responsibility within the participant’s capacity as a sports participant.

    Subsections (a) (2) and (3) refer, respectively, to threatening someone and to making physical contact with someone with intent to offend or provoke. Normally these are class C misdemeanors, but they get upgraded to class B misdemeanors if the victim is targeted during or because of his or her participation in sports, provided that the offender is not also a participant.Report

  6. Stillwater says:

    “Did you order the code red?”

    You’re goddam right I did!

    Well, if true, that changes things a bit.Report

    • Moreno, an honors student, and Rojas, who received John Jay’s “Student of the Year” award as a Freshman, both said they understand they may never play football again but added that they are hopeful school officials will at least allow them to return to John Jay to complete their education.

      “Education is my priority … [I’m] missing out on so many opportunities, besides football, in the classroom and it’s hard,” Moreno said.

      That …. is not what I expected.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

      Moreno told OTL he was standing on the sidelines next to teammate Trenton Hobdy, when his position coach, John Jay assistant Mack Breed, took the two players aside and ordered them to hit Watts.

      Later in the article: Breed has been placed on administrative leave for his conduct during the game.

      Am I missing the part of the article where it talks about asking Breed for comment? Am I not seeing it?Report