A Texas high school football player was removed from a game this week by law enforcement officials after he charged the field and struck a ref after the ref announced that the player had been ejected from the game.
“On Thursday, Edinburg High School senior defensive lineman Emmanuel Duron slammed into referee Fred Gracia after Gracia announced Duron had been ejected from the game,” ESPN reported. “Duron was ejected after he received back-to-back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties when he shoved an opposing offensive lineman to the ground, attempted to tackle the quarterback after the whistle had blown the play dead, and exchanged words with the 58-year-old Gracia.”
The Monitor of McAllen, TX reported that after Gracia announced the penalty, Duron ran back onto the field and blindsided Gracia “with a hit of such force that it sent Gracia to the turf where he laid for several minutes before gaining the strength to stand and walk away.”
Following the incident, the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District (ECISD) said that it was removing the team from postseason play.
“The district has decided to remove the Edinburg High School football team from the playoffs after an unexpected incident involving a student that occurred during a football game on December 3, 2020,” ECISD announced Friday. “We extend a sincere apology to the referee and his family. On behalf of the Edinburg CISD Board of Trustees and administration, we apologize to the athletes, staff, and our school community.”
“We will take the appropriate disciplinary action once we understand the facts and circumstances underlining this incident,” the statement continued. “The district takes these matters very seriously; however, we cannot comment further on a pending investigation.”
Duron was charged with Class A assault on Friday morning while in court. He later posted bond and was released.
The Texas Association of Sports Officials (TASO) and the University Interscholastic League (UIL) announced on Friday that they were launching an investigation into the incident.
“On the evening of Dec. 3, 2020, another vicious and deliberate assault was inflected on a TASO Football Official by a player who had just been ejected from the contest. Unfortunately, this type of blind-sided assault on an official while working on the field is not new to Texas Football,” TASO said in a written statement Friday morning. “Though this latest incident is only hours old, TASO has begun our investigation and started collaboration with the UIL to bring this matter to a suitable disposition.”
“The UIL strongly condemns the unsportsmanlike behavior displayed in the Edinburg vs. PSJA high school football game on December 3, 2020. Physical contact with a sports official is never appropriate,” the UIL said in a statement to the Monitor of McAllen. “Our thoughts and well wishes are with the official involved. We applaud the Edinburg CISD administration for addressing this situation swiftly and taking appropriate action in removing themselves from the playoffs and for dealing with the student involved in the incident.
Dr. Charles Breithaupt, executive director of the UIL, said in a written statement: “The conduct witnessed in the Edinburg, PSJA game in no way represents the values taught through interscholastic activities including high school football. Respect, responsibility, fairness, and concern for others are vital components of educational competition. Strong and appropriate measures are being taken by the school district, and we hope that healing can come from this teachable moment.”