UPDATED from Gannett partner The Tennesseean
The Tennessee player who collided with an official now will not be suspended after the suspension issued by the coach was overruled by the school principal, but the official has been suspended by the state athletic association on a different issue.
Glencliff senior Malcolm Easley ran over umpire Kyle Gill during Friday’s game, and video of the collision sparked debate over whether or not it was targeting.
The Colts coaching staff had originally disciplined Easley, including a one-game suspension, but Glencliff Principal Clint Wilson overruled the staff’s decision and lifted the suspension.
Meahwhile, Gill, who has publicly voiced his displeasure over the collision, calling it “malicious,” was placed on suspension by TSSAA for failing to provide proper background information prior to being hired as an official by the association.
Said Childress in a statement to The Tennessean, “The officials for athletic contests between schools are not TSSAA employees. They register with TSSAA and are required to undergo some training in the TSSAA rules of the game, but they work as independent contractors, hired by the schools through arrangements with local officials associations.
“It was brought to our attention this afternoon that a particular football official may not have fully and accurately disclosed his background as we require when someone applies for registration as a TSSAA official. We promptly contacted the official and informed him that his registration with TSSAA is suspended effective immediately while we verify whether the information we received is accurate.”
Gill has yet to return calls inquiring about the suspension.
Originally Easley was given disciplinary action by his father and head coach Brandon Easley, which included a one-game suspension.
According to a statement from the Metro Schools’ Athletic Steering Committee Wednesday afternoon, Glencliff Principal Clint Wilson has overturned said penalties on the senior standout.
“The TSSAA has ruled that this was not a malicious act, so I am overruling Mr. Easley’s decision. Malcolm will not be suspended from play and will be on the field this Friday night,” said Wilson. “I agree with the TSSAA and believe there was no malicious intent in this hit. It was an accident. Malcolm says he was following the ball and trying to block. He didn’t realize the person he was running toward was an official.
“Malcolm is genuinely sorry for all of this. He’s a good kid and a clean football player who had no intention of hitting Mr. (Kyle) Gill. He knows how serious that is and what it would mean for his future in football. He hopes Mr. Gill will accept his sincere apology. We all want to move past this and play some more good Glencliff football.”
“Even though this was an accident, every player should be conscious at all times of where they are, where the other players are and where the officials are,” said Roosevelt Sanders, district coordinator for athletics and head of the Athletic Steering Committee. “We love football, but safety is always priority one. That goes for players and personnel.”
A Tennessee football player has been suspended for one game after he collided with the umpire during a game last week, moments after the player and the official appeared to have a conversation on the field.
Malcolm Easley was penalized for a personal foul on the play in the second quarter.
“He has been given his punishment from the school, his head coach and his parents,” Brandon Easley, Glencliff’s coach and Malcolm Easley’s father, told The Tennesseean. “There’s a couple things he will be doing to make this right. It’s a game off, it’s (attending) classes, it’s the letter to the official.”
The Gallatin News reported that Easley had previously been warned by the umpire about getting too close. On the play before, he can be seen putting his hands on the back of the umpire.
“I think it’s pretty obvious what went down,” umpire Kyle Gill told the Gallatin News. “I had spoken to the player on the play before and he told me that I was in his way. I asked him how long he’d been playing football and he had to realize that the referees are part of the field. I told him that he should have to avoid me and not the other way around. On the very next play, you saw what happened.”
The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association reviewed the tape and determined there was no malicious intent to target the official and that it would not hand out any additional discipline, but Gill disagrees with that assessment. “It looked pretty malicious to me,” Gill said. “I do think I was targeted.”
The school initially intended to suspend Easley for two games but rescinded the suspension when the TSSAA opted against discipline. A TSSAA official urged fans not to “jump to conclusions” and said officials getting knocked into by players happens more than fans would think.
Coach Easley told The Tennesseean that he does think the hit could have been avoided.
“It was something he could have avoided and he will in the future,” he said. “His character is not the character of someone who would intentionally set out to do that.
“We don’t train kids to go after officials in the middle of a football game. He will do everything possible to make sure that incident that happened Friday night will never happen again.”
The TSSAA said there was no indication in the officials’ report that Easley had been warned or the prior conversation happened.
“I thought that he hit me on purpose,” Gill told the Gallatin News. “He didn’t come back and apologize or anything of that nature.
“Something like this has never happened. I hate that things like this do happen. But until something is done to discipline these kids for their actions on the field someone is going to get hurt.”
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