Seven coaches were fired by a school board in Ohio after an incident where a Jewish student-athlete was forced to eat a pepperoni pizza as a punishment in front of his football team.
The incident unfolded at the McKinley Senior High School in Canton on May 25 when the 17-year-old player said that head coach Marcus Wattley told him to sit in a chair in the middle of their gym and eat an entire pepperoni pizza. The student had been absent from a voluntary strengthening and conditioning practice.
Ed Gilbert, an attorney for the player's family, said that the family was going to file a lawsuit over the violation of the student's constitutional rights.
The family said the student told coach Wattley several times that he was of the Hebrew Israeli religious faith and that he was strictly forbidden from eating pork.
Wattley let the student pick the pepperoni and some of the cheese off the pizza, but pork residue still remained.
Gilbert said that the student was under threat of having the other players being punished if he refused to eat the pizza. They also implied that he might be kicked off the team, he claimed. The student received therapy over the trauma from the incident.
After a hearing about the accusations, the Canton City School Board said in a news release that they had voted unanimously to fire seven coaches, including the head coach Wattley.
Wattley's attorney argued before the school council that the student was never forced or coerced to eat the pizza.
"This young man had every opportunity to leave the room at any time," said the attorney.
Kenny Walker, the student's father, said that he felt disrespected. He said the family had not eaten pork since 2013.
Here's a local news report about the incident:
Canton school district releases 7 coaches after they allegedly forced kosher student to eat pork www.youtube.com