High School Football Players Who Tackled Ref Claim One of Their Coaches Made Them Do It

Two football players suspended for knocking over a referee have claimed that one of their coaches made them do it.

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On Friday, Michael Moreno and Victor Rojas appeared on Good Morning America to talk about the incident. The teenagers were suspended from John Jay High School in San Antonio, Texas after footage emerged showing them knocking down the ref.

Moreno, 17, said: “He pulled me and another player over and he told us and I quote: 'You need to hit him. You need to hit the ref. He needs to pay the price.’”

He was then asked: “For what?”

“For everything that was going on in the game," said Moreno. "Racial slurs were being thrown at players from this referee. I guess his emotions got mixed into it and he told us to do what we did."

GMA's George Stephanopoulos asked: “Did you hear the referee say any racial slurs?’

Rojas replied: “He told one of my Hispanic friends: ‘Speak English this is America' and to two African-Americans on the team I heard him say the ‘N’ word.”

Stephanopoulos asked: “You heard him say it?”

Moreno replied: “I did.”

Stephanopoulos then said: “He said it's a lie.”

“The truth needs to be told,” Moreno said.

But he added that he has learned "you can't just do that because of something you were told."

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A lawyer for the ref denies any racial slurs were uttered, calling the claim "flat out lying.” The assistant coach is on paid leave pending an investigation.

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