A youth football coach has been fired from the team after outrage over a video that showed him violently punching two small children during a game on Dec. 7, according to Savannah Morning News.
Gerrel Williams, a coach for the Savannah Gators football team for kids 9 years old and younger, was seen on video punching two children in the head and ripping another child's helmet off in anger.
No room in the game for coaches like this. I hope he is arrested and banned for life. pic.twitter.com/1B0F2cLiqH
— Coach Reed (@CoachReed314) December 9, 2020
Cobb appeared to be angry about something that happened on the field and can be heard cursing in the video. After turning away from the stands, he violently hits one of the children on his head while another coach stands by and does nothing.
The International Business Times reported that the Savannah Gators were playing in the American Youth Football National Championships in Kissimmee, Florida.
The video spread like wildfire online and elicited harsh responses from dozens of NFL players who slammed Cobb's actions as completely inappropriate.
Once the video had been viewed more than three million times, the team released an official apology on their Facebook page. The team has since deleted its Facebook page entirely because of all of the negative comments coming from people who saw the video.
But before they deleted their page, they released a video of Cobb half-heartedly apologizing for hitting the children.
"Everyone has something negative to say. I'm going to apologize for my actions and for what took place, but at the end of the day, I'm a man and I'm not going to make no excuses for what I did. I was wrong. I shouldn't have disciplined him in public. I should have waited till we got back [to discipline him] for doing what he did," Cobb said.
"There's no excuse for my actions. He forgave me and his parents have forgiven me so nobody else should be bashing me," he added.
His weakass apology. That wasn’t his kid and the parents forgave him? Smh couldn’t be mine. pic.twitter.com/deFKpVTYNP
— TK F. (@BornARam916) December 10, 2020
Savannah Morning News later revealed that Williams works for the Chatham County Sheriff's Office, which fired him after the video went public.
"CCSO reviewed the video and we are very disturbed by the actions of Mr. Gerrel Williams," Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher said.
The news outlet added that an incident report was filed with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office and that members of the AYF National Championship told police that Williams had been banned from the league permanently.
AYF Executive Vice President Adam Laufer spoke with TMZ on Thursday and confirmed that Williams had been banned.
"We are of course beyond disappointed in the coach's actions, which are wholly inconsistent with the fundamental value of youth sports. The coach has been banned indefinitely from all future AYF events and activities," Laufer said.
The child's mother was also contacted by police and told them she is not interested in pressing charges.
Local news outlet WJCL said the Savannah Police Department had received a ton of messages about the situation but had left it up to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office to handle.
Before deleting their Facebook page, the team apologized to the parents of the children and to anyone who saw the video.
"We understand what we all saw yesterday was disturbing to us all but let's not blame everyone for one man's actions," the poorly edited statement read.
"He is a good guy that just took it a little to far on a 9U player. We understand and we are aware of what's going on and will like to apologize to the Big Peach Conference and the AYF," the team added.
After more backlash due to the callousness of the first statement, the team released another similarly hard to read statement.
The team confirmed that the coach has been removed and the entire team's staff has been replaced.
"That was wrong and we do not support coaches putting their hands on players or kids," the team statement read. "We also want to apologize to Latisha Jones for the coach's reaction towards her son. This will never happen again."
The situation elicited thousands of responses from horrified parents who questioned how no one reacted to the violence William enacted on the children.
Major NFL and NBA stars spoke out about the video, calling it completely unacceptable.
I’ll whip him even IF* that’s his kid. I won’t let anyone pray on the weak or vulnerable in front of me. Not going to happen https://t.co/YZ765bTdaY
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) December 10, 2020
He need his fuckn ass beat. Ion care if that’s his son or not
— Matt Barnes (@Matt_Barnes22) December 9, 2020
This is unacceptable. This type of coaching should not be tolerated in any Men/Women league professionally or a scholastic sport for kids. Shame on this coach.
— Darrelle Revis (@Revis24) December 9, 2020
Sadly, this is very common in the youth circuit when dads want to relive their glory days through their children. This isn’t coaching. This is child abuse and you are spot on; he needs to be banned and arrested.
— Coach Julio (@lilfishoil) December 9, 2020
Coach needs his ass whooped. Straight up. https://t.co/kGy8KTHidY
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) December 9, 2020
Hundreds of people said if it was their child, they would have wasted no time jumping in to address the situation, and many were astonished that the boy's mother had no response to the situation.
When contacted by the Savanah Morning News, the child's mother declined an interview and said she did not believe any of the coaches would hurt children.