Note: we are republishing this story amid a nationwide conversation about race relations in America.
The New Jersey High School football player who removed his opponents helmet on the field and then hit him on the head with it has been taken off the team and his actions are under investigation.
Linden High School defensive lineman Fritz Moncion, 18, was caught on video at their game removing the helmet of an Immaculata High School player during a play, and then hitting him with it in the head before throwing it aside (video below).
Anita McDuffy, Moncion’s mother, claims it was all an accident, reports The Daily Mail. She also noted that the defensive tackle had been calling her son the n-word.
“He really is apologetic about this. He said his hand got stuck in the helmet. I believe in my child,” McDuffy said. “If it was so bad, which it was a bad incident, they should have taken him out of the game. They allowed him to play the third and fourth quarter. He apologized to the student.”
Moncion was penalized during the game for unsportsmanlike conduct but because the referee did not see the hit, which took place away from the play, he was not removed from the game.
According to family friend Dondi Givens, Moncion had complained to the referee during the game that the Immaculata High School player had been spearing him, or driving head first with his helmet.
It was the spearing that upset Moncion on the field, and not the alleged use of the n-word.
“Things like this happen in football,” Salaam Israel, Director of the Elizabeth-based United Youth Council, said. “He didn't go up to hurt this kid. They were two bulls tangling.”
The injured player went to a local hospital where he received ten stitches for his wound.
The video was brought to the attention of Linden school officials, the Linden police department, and the NJSIAA, reports NBC New York.
"Once we reviewed the videotape, we felt it necessary to contact Linden officials, who in turn have been very cooperative and apologetic,” Immaculata High School's Athletic Director, Thomas Gambino, said.
Linden’s Superintendent, Danny Robertozzi, said Moncion has been removed from the football team due to his behavior and the Board of Education is "pursuing the severest disciplinary measures permitted under law.”
"The brutal action taken by this young man is simply unacceptable and will not be condoned," Robertozzi’s statement continued.