A high school football coach in Wisconsin has served a one-game suspension after being ejected for making an inappropriate comment to a game official.
Brian Fletcher, coach at Racine Horlick, was upset after one of his players was called for a personal foul.
“Would we have gotten that call if my safety was Caucasian?” he asked the official, according to MyRacineCounty.com.
Fletcher was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and was ejected because it was his second unsportsmanlike penalty of the game. Two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties call for an automatic suspension under Wisconsin rules.
On the play that led to the call, Burlington High wide receiver Jacob Weidert dove headfirst for the end zone and was hit by the Horlick safety in an attempt to push him out of bounds. Weidert was left motionless on the field as he was tended to by a doctor, trainer and the coaching staff. Video showed the hit was not helmet-to-helmet as initially feared. The defensive player’s knee hit the back of Weidert’s helmet, leading to a bruised neck, according to Weidert’s father Chris.
Weidert was taken off the field on a stretcher. His father said he did not lose feeling in his extremities and was wearing a neck brace the next day.
After the game, Fletcher apologized to the Burlington coaches, and Weidert’s father and Fletcher spoke the day after the game. The family assured the coach that Jacob was doing fine and they accepted his apology.
In a statement released by the school district, Fletcher said, “I am aware that my actions at Friday night’s football game were out of line and insensitive, and I apologize to those I offended. I regret the negative image my actions have cast on players, coaches, staff and administration at Horlick High School as well as the Racine community. My choice of words was inconsistent with the morals and values I strive to emulate and teach my Horlick football team and myself. I wish the young man from Burlington my sincerest regards for a full and speedy recovery from his injury.”
Fletcher was in the press box for the team’s game last weekend and was not allowed to coach his players.