Georgia football coach punches child, 9, in the face twice in viral video
The coach, identified as Gerrel Williams, was investigated for child abuse, but the child's mother ultimately decided not to press charges.
An adult 9U football coach in Georgia was seen in a viral video aggressively punching a child at least two times.
In the video, the angry man appears to aggressively deliver a hard right-hand punch to the child’s helmet twice. He also grabs the boy and shakes him while another adult stands nearby. A third man comes over to the situation but does not intervene.
One tweet of the video calls the interaction “pure cowardice.”
The incident happened during a game of the 9U Savannah Gators, which means the boy was nine years old. It happened during play at the American Youth Football National Championships in Kissimmee, Florida.
The coach, who has been identified as Gerrel Williams per TMZ, posted a video apology on Facebook in the comments of the team page, but he expressed regret only for reprimanding the child in public.
“I’mma apologize for my actions about what took place today,” Wiliams wrote. “At the end of the day I am a man and I’m not going to make no excuses for what I did. I was wrong.”
“I shouldn’t have disciplined [the child] in public,” he added. “I should’ve waited ’til we got back. At the end of the day, I apologize to him, the kids, the city, and my family back at home. I do apologize.”
He also apologized to the boy’s parents, saying they have already forgiven him.
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office told TMZ they had investigated Williams for possible child abuse after the video of the Dec. 7 incident was sent to them. The child’s mother, however, “made clear” she did not want to press charges against the coach.
Williams still could face criminal charges by prosecutors with the video as evidence, but a conviction would be difficult without cooperation from the victim or his parents. What’s more, Williams previously worked for the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office as a counselor in the detention center. The sheriff’s office confirmed to TMZ he is no longer an employee.
Additionally, American Youth Football Executive Vice President Adam Laufer said Williams is banned from the national youth league, which is represented in all 50 U.S. states and six countries.
“We are of course beyond disappointed in the coach’s actions, which are wholly inconsistent with the fundamental value of youth sports,” said Laufer.