The incident in question occurred on May 24, when a 17-year-old student at McKinley Senior High School in Canton said that coaches forced him to eat pepperoni pizza as punishment for skipping a voluntary workout because of an injury.
Head football coach Marcus Watley and seven assistant coaches were suspended last week by the Canton City School District due to allegations Canton Repository.
The student’s lawyer, Ed Gilbert, said Tuesday that the teen and his family are members of the Hebrew Israeli religious faith and that “everyone on the team knows this kid won’t eat pork”.
He said the teen, who had skipped a voluntary workout four days ago while suffering shoulder pain, was ordered to sit in the middle of the gym and eat a whole pepperoni pizza, he said. The lawyer said the student was allowed to remove the pepperoni and some of the cheese, but the pork remains remained.
Mr Gilbert said the youngster would have been subjected to extra practice and his position in the team could be at risk if he had not followed Mr Watley’s orders.
The lawyer told local media that to say that the coach used poor judgment would be an “understatement” and that the incident was disrespectful to the teenager. They are now planning to file a lawsuit.
Canton City School Superintendent Jeff Talbert announced the coaches’ suspension last week, but declined to comment on the allegations made Tuesday by Gilbert and the teen’s family.
The Canton City School District said in a post on Facebook last week: “The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority.
“The incident raised questions as to whether the infrastructure for proper team management, discipline and player accountability exists. The district is close to completing its investigation into the incident. Once a conclusion is reached, in accordance with our commitment to transparency, the district will provide additional information,” the post said.
Additional reporting by agencies
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