AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two John Jay High School football players took to national television to tell their side of an incident which has garnered attention from across the country. Michael Moreno and Victor Rojas were apologetic and remorseful during a five-minute interview on ABC’s Good Morning America to discuss their blindside hits they delivered to referee Robert Watts during a game two weeks ago in Marble Falls.
“I am greatly sorry for this and I regret it greatly, I hope people can change their minds about us,” said Moreno. The two players were accompanied by their attorney Jesse Hernandez.
Although they apologized to Watts and expressed regret, they also lofted accusations at an assistant coach and Watts himself.
“He pulled me and another player and said you need to hit the ref. He needs to pay the price,” said Moreno about assistant coach Mack Breed. Moreno said the order came after what some John Jay players believed to be several unjustified calls by Watts. Breed has been placed on administrative leave with pay by the school district.
Racial slurs were also part of the motivation according to the players.
“He told one of my Hispanic friends to speak English because this is America,” said Rojas. Both players said Watts also used racial slurs towards African-American players.
The interview concluded with Moreno saying he placed a priority on academics and his suspension from school because of the incident has taken a toll.
“Everyone sees me as a thug or gangster, but I am really a great kid,” he said. “School is my first priority and I aspire to be an aerospace engineer.”
Northside Independent School District released a statement Friday to say the two players have been placed in alternative school while they await a disciplinary hearing, but the district was unaware they would be in New York on Friday for the interview.
Marble Falls Police Department is still conducting an investigation into possible criminal charges against the players.
The State Executive Board of the University Interscholastic League will hold its second hearing on September 24.