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Coach of Two Texas Football Players Who Hit Referee Resigns

The Texas high school football coach accused of provoking two players to tackle a referee during a game has resigned from the school district, his attorney said Thursday.

Mack Breed was initially placed on administrative leave from John Jay High School in San Antonio following the Sept. 4 game at a rival school, where two players were caught on camera hitting referee Robert Watts from behind.

Attorney for pummeled referee calls attack ‘heinous crime’ 2:55

Breed, the 29-year-old assistant coach, allegedly admitted to school officials that he ordered the players to blindside Watts because the umpire used racial slurs and had made several bad calls, EPSN first reported.

Breed’s attorney, James Reeves, released a statement Thursday explaining why his client resigned and that he has “replayed that game in his mind many times wondering how it all went wrong.”

According to Breed, one of the black John Jay players told him that Watts used a racial slur toward him.

“As a black male, nothing offended Mack Breed more than being called a racial epithet except someone in a position of authority calling his players racial epithets,” Reeves wrote.

Referee Robert Watts
Referee Robert Watts, right, talks with other referees after he was rammed by two players on the field in Marble Falls, Texas. Kelly McDuffie

He added that while Breed was angry about what was being said during the game, he “never explicitly told” the two players to hit the referee.

Still, “Mack feels that he could have handled the situation better,” which is why he has resigned, Breed said.

John Jay High School Principal Robert Harris told the state interscholastic league during a hearing on Thursday that he interviewed Breed a day after the incident.

The coach admitted to directing the students to physically assault the referee and was "remorseful" for his actions, Harris said. He added that Breed later recanted what he said, but is inclined to believe the coach's initial admission.

Related: Referee Tackled by Two Texas High School Football Players Was a Fill-In

Neither Breed nor Watts were at Thursday's hearing. The two high school students also did not attend.

Watts, a 14-year veteran referee, has been recovering from a concussion, his attorney said at the hearing. He added that his client denies using any racial slurs or telling players to speak English because, as he is accused of saying, "this is America."

The two players, ages 15 and 17, were suspended and ordered to attend an alternative school for 75 days before they can return to John Jay in mid-January, their attorney, Jesse Hernandez, said Wednesday. They will not be allowed to rejoin the team.

Hernandez added that the students "regret" what happened, but would not have harmed the referee unless they were told to by their coach and the official hadn't used such offensive language.