Savannah, GA – A counselor in the Chatham County Jail has been fired by the Chatham County Sheriff’s office after a video went viral of him repeatedly hitting a Pop Warner football player he was coaching at a game on Monday (video below).
The incident occurred on Dec. 7 in Kissimmee during an American Youth Football (AYF) National Championship game, the Savannah Morning News reported.
The Savannah Gators were playing in the 2020 AYF’s AA Division 1-7U tournament, WJCL reported.
The players on the team were all seven years old or younger.
A spectator online saw what happened and clipped the video of the moment when Savannah Gators’ Coach Gerrel Williams started hitting one of the tiny helmeted players on his team, WJCL reported.
The video started with a squad of little boys in yellow jersey walking off the field toward the sidelines.
The first little boy to reach the coach – #2 – was greeted by Williams with a slap to his helmet that sent the little boy reeling, the video showed.
Then the coach turned and yelled at somebody to “get off my sidelines” before he walked back over to the football players and punched #2 in the head again, this time knocking him to the ground.
The video showed that another adult was standing less than two feet away and did nothing as the little boy scrambled back to his feet.
Then another coach joined Williams on the field, the video showed.
That’s when Williams bent over to scream in the little football player’s face, but neither of the men standing right there with the football squad made any attempt to stop him.
Then Williams grabbed the child by the neck and base of his helmet and shook him, the video showed.
Williams pushed the little boy toward the sidelines and the player ran off the field as the video end.
The person who captured the video clip was watching in Maryland, but they contacted the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in Florida where the game was being played, WJCL reported.
Osceola County sheriff’s detectives investigated the incident.
Detectives said in their report that the person in charge of the AYF National Championship said that Williams had been expelled from the football league and banned from attending any of the games, the Savannah Morning News reported.
The report also said that the detectives had gotten in touch with mother of the little boy the coach attacked.
The player’s mother told detectives that she knew what had happened and didn’t want to press charges against Williams.
She would not comment on the video for the Savannah Morning News other than to say “that none of these coaches would harm [the] kids.”
Williams’ full-time employer, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), launched an internal investigation.
The sheriff’s department fired Williams and released a statement on the incident, the Savannah Morning News reported.
“CCSO reviewed the video and we are very disturbed by the actions of Mr. Gerrel Williams,” CCSO Sheriff John Wilcher said.
Sheriff Wilcher said Williams was no longer employed by CCSO as of Thursday, the Savannah Morning News reported.
Williams later made an apology on Facebook Live that acknowledged he had made a mistake.
The former coach said he should have waited until they were in private to discipline the player, and that the little boy and his parents had forgiven him.
“I’m not going to make no excuses for what I did,” Williams said in the video. “I was wrong. …There is no excuse for my actions. He forgives me and his parents have forgiven me, so nobody else should be bashing me.”
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content:
Someone shared this with me. It was on their Facebook page. Supposedly happened in Florida during some championships during the past week. Anyone know disposition? Should’ve been arrested . . . . . Absolutely, totally uncalled for. We have to rid sports of “coaches” like this. pic.twitter.com/X57VMr7Rfe
— Chris Fore (@CoachFore) December 9, 2020