A post-bout skirmish erupted between a high school wrestler and opposing coach in Arizona on Saturday. While any punishment remains uncertain, it’s still possible that the teen could be charged with some degree of assault or could be suspended for violating the student code of conduct, according to a report from Tucson ABC affiliate KOLD.
According to the news network, a bout between wrestlers from Canyon Del Oro High School (Tucson, Ariz.) and Salpointe Catholic High School (Tucson, Ariz.) was ended prematurely and adjudged that the Canyon Del Oro (CDO) wrestler elbowed his opponent in the neck. That set up a disqualification, which required the wrestlers to come back into the ring to shake hands.
That went off without incident, but the entire scene was far from quiet. Rather, as the wrestlers retreated to their teams off the mat, a Salpointe coach reportedly walked on to the mat and was then charged by the CDO athlete in question.
VIDEO: A Canyon Del Oro wrestler attacks a Salpointe Catholic coach after a match Saturday.
Tonight on @TucsonNewsNow -> What Amphi Public Schools is saying about the brawl. pic.twitter.com/ughoxWouQc
— Melissa Egan (@_MelissaEgan) February 4, 2019
The coach and wrestler became embroiled in a fight for a good half minute before they could be separated by other coaches and teammates. The assistant coach who was attacked in the video above was later deemed to be OK and was not hospitalized due to any injuries in the incident.
Meanwhile, local police have yet to release any info about possible charges related to the incident, though Ampitheater Public School District, the home of CDO, has released a statement reinforcing that the athlete could be disciplined within the school based on violation of the code of conduct, as noted by KOLD.
“Amphitheater Public Schools is aware of the incident that occurred at a wrestling match on Saturday. The District is investigating and will follow its Code of Conduct in determining any disciplinary action.”
A South Dakota Senate panel has ended a proposal to change the state’s existing transgender athlete policy, ensuring that student athletes will continue to be allowed to compete as their identified gender.
The bill that had been proposed by South Dakota state Sen. Jim Bolin, numbered SB49, would have forced all athletes in the state to compete as the gender identified on their birth certificates. Yet, for the Senate to take up the bill, it first had to pass the Senate Education Committee, which instead voted 5-2 to reject the proposal.
Bolin expressed his disappointment that the bill would not go to a vote because it was an attempt to, “elevate the concept of fair competition in sex-segregated sports to a higher level.”
While the Family Heritage Alliance Action leadership expressed disappointment that the bill didn’t proceed, both South Dakota High School Activities Association Executive Director Dan Swartos and the ACLU or South Dakota breathed a sigh of relief that transgender teens would still be allowed to compete for a team that matches their gender identity, provided they pass the state’s existing guidelines for eligibility of transgender athletes.
The South Dakota Senate committee’s rejection of the bill keeps South Dakota from following in the footsteps of Texas, where the teen Mack Beggs has famously been forced to compete in girls wrestling despite his desire and that of other girls and boys wrestlers to have him compete in boys wrestling.
That won’t happen in South Dakota, which Chris Mosier, the internationally competitive trans triathlete and transgender spokesperson was happy to celebrate with the LGBTQ blog Outsports:
“There are known physical, mental, social, and psychological benefits for any person participating in sports,” Mosier told Outsports in an earlier interview about SB49. “For young people, it’s an opportunity for them to connect with their peers, and learn critical leadership and communication skills, and work with diverse teammates toward a common goal.
“Sport can help trans youth connect to their peers and learn more about themselves. I certainly felt that way; when I didn’t know who I was or how I fit in, sports gave me a purpose and a sense of belonging, and the values and skills I learned on teams comprise the core of who I am today.”
The parents of a Buena Regional High School wrestler who was thrust into the national spotlight when an official required him to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his bout expressed immense, heartfelt gratitude for the overwhelming show of support for their son.
Charles and Rosa Johnson, the parents of junior Andrew Johnson, released a statement on Monday morning through their lawyer Dominic A. Speziali.
“Andrew has been deeply moved by the thunderous outpouring of unsolicited support — including from an Olympic wrestler, leading civil rights advocates and elected officials — after the shocking pre-match ultimatum,” the statement said.
(Photo: Submitted photo from Johnson family via Courier-Post)
“Wrestling has taught Andrew to be resilient in the face of adversity. As we move forward, we are comforted by both the strength of Andrew’s character and the support he’s received from the community. We will do all that we can to make sure that no student-athlete is forced to endure what Andrew experienced.”
Referee Alan Maloney instructed Johnson to have his dreadlocks cut in order to compete in a bout against Oakcrest’s David Flippen last Wednesday. Video of the incident published by SNJ Today went viral, causing a controversy that drew reactions from all over the country.
Olympic gold medalist and South Jersey native Jordan Burroughs and Gov. Phil Murphy were among those who weighed in on the incident.
Speziali sad the family is awaiting the results of an inquiry by the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights.
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Maloney made headlines when he used a racial epithet to describe a fellow referee after a youth wrestling tournament in 2016.
Speziali questioned why Maloney was still allowed to officiate after the 2016 incident.
“As this matter is further investigated, the family wants to be clear that they are supportive of Andrew’s coaches and the team’s athletic trainer. The blame here rests primarily with the referee and those that permitted him to continue in that role despite clear evidence of what should be a disqualifying race-related transgression.”
Speziali’s statement provided the first details of what transpired before the bout and led to the controversy.
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“The scholastic wrestling rules clearly state that referees are to inspect wrestlers’ appearance and determine any rules violations prior to the start of the meet, typically during weigh-ins. The referee here was late to the meet and missed weigh-ins. When he did evaluate Andrew, he failed to raise any issues with the length of his hair or the need to wear a head covering.
“He added that the referee later informed Nate Johnson, Andrew’s younger brother and teammate, that they would both need to wear a head covering or face disqualification.
As Andrew took to the mat to start his match, the referee examined and rejected the head covering he was wearing. In prior matches at a tournament the weekend before, Andrew was permitted to wrestle without issue, a fact that his coaches conveyed to the referee when pleading on his behalf. Andrew then requested he be allowed to push his hair back as he did the weekend prior, but the referee again refused because ‘it wasn’t in its natural state.”
Read the full story at the Courier-Post.
Steve Gibble, Hunterdon Central (Flemington, N.J.) High School’s former Hall of Fame wrestling coach, has been “vindicated” by a school board vote to reject a bullying allegation filed against him four years ago.
After two full days of hearings, the board voted 7-2 on Nov. 17 to reject an allegation by former Superintendent of Schools Christine Steffner that Gibble, who compiled a 348-119 record during his 22 years as head coach and is a member of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Coaches Hall of Fame, committed bullying during a summer wrestling camp program in July 2014.
The hearing was a result of an Appellate Court decision that upheld a state Office of Administrative Law ruling, which concluded that the coach should have been afforded a hearing on the bullying charge as required by New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Act.
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The bullying charge led to his dismissal from the coaching position by the school board. Gibble then appealed the dismissal to the state Office of Administrative Law.
Status of federal court case
Gibble, still a social studies teacher at the school, also has a case pending in federal court against the school district. That case was stayed pending the school board hearing.
Steven Farsiou, Gibble’s attorney, said on Monday that he will be asking the federal court to re-open the case and will be amending the lawsuit.
Hunterdon Central has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation.
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Despite the board’s decision, Farsiou said Gibble has suffered because of the initial allegation that lost him the wrestling job.
“You can’t put the toothpaste back into the tube,” Farsiou said, adding that Gibble’s reputation has been damaged and he has suffered financial loss and his health has been adversely affected.
“His reputation can not be restored,” the attorney said.
Farsiou said he was “very happy” that seven members of the board rejected the former superintendent’s allegation.
“They did the right thing.” he said.
The incident began in July 2014, when Gibble was serving as a volunteer coach at a wrestling camp hosted by the Rutgers University wrestling team at the school. A student, identified only by his initials, was one of 15 youths attending the camp.
On two occasions during the camp, Gibble stated to the student, in the presence others, that he hoped the student did not have access to any weapons or keys to a gun cabinet, according to the bullying complaint.
Gibble, Farsiou said, does not recall making the comment, but remembers making a light-hearted comment to get the student, an entering freshman, to relax and enjoy the camp.
According to court papers, the student, because he believed that Gibble thought he was crazy, called his parents and left the camp early.
Read the full story at My Central Jersey.