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One of the coaches of two San Antonio high school football players who charged at a referee during a game has been placed on leave as school officials investigate his potential involvement in the violent behavior.
The two John Jay High School football players who were caught on videos pummeling a referee during the second-to-last play of Friday night's game have been suspended while school officials investigate the incident.
A video on YouTube showing one player knock over the referee before another dives into him had been viewed more than 7,000,000 times by Tuesday afternoon.
John Jay High School assistant football coach Mack Breed is on paid leave while a separate investigation also focuses on whether he may have provoked the two players, who have not been identified because they are minors, said John Jay's director of communications Pascual Gonzalez.
Before the two players attacked the referee, two other John Jay team members had been ejected from the game, and Breed allegedly told his team: "That guy needs to pay for cheating us," Gonzalez said.
Breed, 29, has worked for the school district for five years and played football at John Jay High School, said John Jay's executive director of athletics Stanley Laing. "The alleged comments of the coach is not a reflection of that coaching staff," Laing said.
Laing added that the actions of the two players also don’t reflect on the football team, and the district has decided not to cancel the football season. The two players could face expulsion from the district, in which case they would be placed in a "juvenile justice" school, said Gonzalez.
They claim that the referee directed racial slurs at John Jay players, which will factor into the investigation and their punishment, Gonzalez added.
Two additional investigations by the University Interscholastic League and the police department of Marble Falls, where the game was played, could result in additional consequences for the two John Jay athletes.
The police department said Monday that they were investigating the incident. The department was in touch with Burnet County attorney Eddie Arredondo on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of criminal charges, said Marble Falls Sgt. Tom Dillard.
Arredondo told NBC News that he would review the case "just as we would with any other case,” but added that the investigation was in a "premature stage.” He said, based on the information he had, the players could possibly face assault charges.