UPDATED 12/10, 5:05 p.m. ET: The Savannah Morning News published more information about the identity of the coach, Gerrel Williams, and the fallout from him striking a player in the head on Dec. 7 at the American Youth Football (AYF) National Championship in Kissimmee, Florida.
Williams was an employee of the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office in Savannah, Georgia, which has commenced with an internal investigation and fired him from his position as a detention center counselor. Sheriff John Wilcher stated, "CCSO reviewed the video and we are very disturbed by the actions of Mr. Gerrel Williams."
Florida's Osceola County Sheriff's Office filed an incident report as well. “The person in charge of the AYF National Championship advised the officer handling the incident that the coach was expelled from the league and was no longer able to attend any more games, the report stated,” the Morning News writes. The officer contacted the boy’s mother, who said she knew about the incident but won't press charges. She told the paper she’s confident "that none of these coaches would harm [the] kids." She declined further comment.
The Savannah Gators told the Morning News that Gerrel Williams "was wrong and is fired from this organization's coaching staff.” The team previously made a less definitive statement, including the defense that Williams "is a good guy that just took it a little to [sic] far," on its Facebook page, which has been deleted amid a flood of comments.
See original story below.
A disturbing video that has been circulating online shows an adult coach of a 9U football team Savannah Gators violently hitting a 9-year-old player in the head while shouting at him on the field.
Said game appears to have taken place in Kissimmee, Florida at the American Youth Football National Championships, according to FanBuzz. The coach's identity has not been definitively reported.
The Gators' purported Facebook page said the coach "is a good guy that just took it a little to [sic] far." The since-deleted post from the Georgia team read, "Please keep the negative comments off this page please this organization has great coaches we understand what we all saw yesterday was disturbing to us all but let’s not blame everyone for one mans actions. The organization is not at Nationals we have only 2 age groups a National 7U & 9U with only those coaches of those age groups witch [sic] the guy in the video is our 9U head coach he is a good guy that just took it a little to [sic] far on a 9U player we understand and we are aware of what’s going on and will like to apologize to the #BigPeachConference."
A weak apology video by the coach also surfaced. "Among the comments on the Facebook video, one suggested a fellow coach indicated Cobb had been banned from coaching in the AYF for life and was facing charges in Florida," writes Newsweek, though it should be noted the publication is one of several to misidentify the coach as Alexis Cobb. While that's the owner of the page which posted the coach's apology, Cobb has made it clear the coach is not her husband.
Take this with a grain of salt as well, until there's official word, but International Business Times says a "fellow coach later confirmed that [the coach in question] had been banned from coaching in the AYF for life and is also facing charges in Florida."
As the footage of the incident circulated on social media, people responded by denouncing the coach's actions, including LeBron James, Darrelle Revis, and Savannah State alum Shannon Sharpe. “Hell if [I’m] there and it’s not even my kid we gone have more than words for sure,” an irate LBJ wrote on his Instagram Stories.