Malcolm Easley, a football player for Glencliff High School in Tennessee, was caught on video (below) colliding with a referee, Kyle Gill, during a game on Sept. 18.
Easley crashed into Gill while the opposing team, Gallatin, was pushing towards the end zone and had a 21-7 lead.
Gill told The Gallatin News:
"I had spoken to the player on the play before and he told me that I was in his way. I asked him how long he'd been playing football and he had to realize that the referees are part of the field. I told him that he should have to avoid me and not the other way around. On the very next play, you saw what happened."
An unidentified source, who was on the field, told The Gallatin News that Easley was told by the referee before the collision that he was "getting way too close" to the referees. On the play before the collision, Easley was seen putting his hands on the back of Gill at the end of the play (video below).
Brandon Easley, Glencliff's coach and Easley's dad, told The Tennessean:
"He has been given his punishment from the school, his head coach and his parents. There’s a couple things he will be doing to make this right. It’s a game off, it’s [attending] classes, it’s the letter to the official.
"It was something he could have avoided and he will in the future. His character is not the character of someone who would intentionally set out to do that.
"We don’t train kids to go after officials in the middle of a football game. He will do everything possible to make sure that incident that happened Friday night will never happen again."
According to WSMV, Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Assistant Executive Director Matthew Gillespie said:
"We reviewed the tape in the office several times. Based on what we reviewed, we determined there was no intent to target the official in a malicious manner.
"The player was running in the direction of the ball carrier and he hit the official. Obviously that’s unfortunate. It does happen in games. Based on everything we reviewed, we’re not going to take any additional disciplinary action."
"It looked pretty malicious to me," Gill told The Gallatin News. "I do think I was targeted."
"I thought that he hit me on purpose," Gill added. "He didn't come back and apologize or anything of that nature."
Gillespie claimed TSSAA was not told the high school player had been warned by the referee earlier before the collision.